Apr 29, 2011


Hello everyone.  I visited my framer today.  She is a warm and lovely person who also took care of her mom, and lost her not long after mine passed.  She's had this business for as long as I can remember and I though you might like to see some of the items she has on display.  You probably have several framing studios to choose from and most bigger than mine, but this is all I have so pretend you're impressed.  It was very difficult to take photos because of reflections from the window and ceiling lights so most of them I'm not even bothering with.  But I was introduced to Tru Vue museum glass.  Not having anything framed for a quarter century, it's new to me, but not you.  I did have one piece framed last year at Michael's with a coupon but requested standard glass, thinking the frosty looking non-glare of years back was the only other option.  I thought I was getting a bargain with the coupon but found the pricing comparable to Margaret, so I will stay with my local independent.


I was amazed at the difference in the museum glass.  Some times I feel a little foolish for being out of the loop for so long, like someone awakened from a long sleep and discovering the transpired changes.  I call it mentalpause.   Margaret has done some wonderful shadow box collections, but all I can show you are hers personally.  A customer had one done showcasing an antique cloth doll and related items with an aged looking dark background and frame.  Surprisingly primitive and early looking display. This one is so unusual - the narrow silver edge is the outside frame, the wider silver frame is behind the glass and part of the interior, along with the matching silver fillet bordering the mat. 
An heirloom plate done with the museum glass.  You can see a slight reflection of the ceiling light and my outline, but the others were like looking into a mirror.
Here's the grouping and you can see the difference in reflections compared to her other items.

I don't know if this would convince me to frame more items or not since the price may be the sticking point.  I didn't have anything for her to quote, so it's hard to tell.   How about you?  Do you use the museum glass, or would you if the price was considerably more? 
She has some other gifts and framed military branch patches that a local guy has embroidered in India.  They are beautiful, but pricey.  The patches are $150 and $239 framed.

                                          These pottery bird houses with removable lids were $69. 
But these mugs and vases really got me going!  A lot of the local pottery was very reasonable such as a large pitcher of browns and blues for $26.

I started stitching last night on what I though was a small quick project, while I await the return of Stacy.  It calls for 36 count so I grabbed what I thought was 32, and started.  I'm not sure what the count is, but two threads are almost two much, and one wasn't enough for me.   Look how big that needle looks compared to the stitches!  I have to count this - it may be 36.  AUGH!!

 I haven't stitched on this count for a very long time, if ever, since I'm not sure of the true count.  I was having much difficulty going over two for the eyelet, and could see right away that I was actually doing three.  Easy to correct when it's immediately obvious.  Then I actually did something I am guilty of not doing the majority of time - I read the rest of the chart.  Crap.  That sweet little design is over one.  I knew the letters were but not the whole design!  Say it ain't so!  I'm having enough trouble with this count let alone having to do the much hated over one on it.  But I put on my big girl panties (my usual size) and continued on.  Did I get frustrated and annoyed the more I stitched?  No, not really.  After completing the A, I got the hang of it and it became fun.  So much fun, that I figured what the hell!  Let's stick a fork in my old fillings or maybe chew on some aluminum foil.   But speaking of panties - we have one dressing room in Macy's that is about the size of a fridge, with a half door so your legs are showing.  I was trying on jeans in this tiny room, got one leg in, bent over, hit my head, which shoved my ass into the wall, making a LOT of noise as I bounced off the walls trying to regain my balance hopping on one leg. By now the entire department is hearing the commotion and looking at the door and then it happened.  On the floor in the door's open bottom sat a large rear wearing white cotton Hanes full briefs.  In the modern world of thongs, and $8 fitted low riders, there I was in large white cotton up to the waist.  At least I didn't knock the door open and fly out into a rack.   Now go back up and look at a nicer picture to rid yourself of this image.


Apr 26, 2011


Hope you all had a nice Easter and are still safe from the storms.   I tried using the push mower today for the really high grass areas and the little wheels were buried in mud.  I think all the work from last year on landscaping and shrubs will need to be redone.  We'll never be dried out enough to put in a garden, and may not be able to cut the grass for weeks. 

Fanny is finished!  Took a while - I made more pomanders, a day of stuffing cabbage, making cwikla (beet horseradish relish), kielbasa, and mom's rice pudding, but today I sat outside and stitched. 

I changed the colors of the bottom motifs and I like the way it looks.  Now the big question for me....do I want it framed?  My preference on displaying stitched items may be a little weird, but I prefer seeing the texture of the pieces which is some times lost behind glass.   Margaret's blog header has several gorgeous samplers just folded together and you see the character and weave of the linen, the thread, and that appeals to me.  I am drawn to Shaker and simplistic primitive decorating so having a sampler lying on a desk or in a basket, even hanging with frayed edges, is OK with me.  Perfectly pressed?  Or slightly wrinkled?  Like me, wrinkled.  Well, not THAT much, but some.  Some of you are probably cringing right now that a treasured work of time and talent would be lying around, free to collect dust or be handled by a guest.  Now, something like Deb's Ann Medd is a different story.  Something of that size needs framed and it looks magnificent.  They all do!  Being perfectly mounted behind glass doesn't detract at all from the beauty of the piece.  And all of mine from 25 years ago are framed behind glass.  Today, I may prefer hemmed edges showing, mounted to a backboard, rather than stretched under the frame's edge.  I really like the way Fanny looks hanging on her own on my cupboard door though.  I guess if you have one or two, it's OK to have them on display without the formality of framing, but with a collection, framing is a must.  Did I just have a hot flash?  Am I contradicting myself?  No.  I prefer to see Margaret's pieces "free", but I have to be reasonable about how many can be displayed in such a manner.  For now I will scrunch Fanny a bit, even up the fringe, and hang it with nicer pins.  My favorite (now closed) shop's models were almost exclusively samplers, very few framed, all on linens.  They were attached to valances, draped over small side tables and basket handles, pinned to walls.  Unrealistic for a family home with pets!  But I loved being able to hold them and closely examine the stitching.
*Chocolate break*

Yes, I went to the sale.  But I only bought a few 2 oz., perfect for a treat, which will go in the freezer.  Yeah, right. 
*Back to stitching*
I can't remember why, but I visited The Scarlet Letter's site.  Not a good idea.  Why do I want to keep purchasing charts I will probably never stitch?   I know that most stitchers do the same, but at least they have SOME desire to stitch them at some point.  I'm not in that groove baby and haven't been for years so it doesn't make sense.   Several have been drawing me back for another view.  One is Mary Jones.  The colors on that green linen are stunning and I still have a yard of that beautiful green with the teal tinge, but it's 25 count.  The others are Sarah Brown and Maria Theresa Wilkinson.  There are so many others on her site that are magnificent, and I spend a lot of time perusing, in addition to the catalog photos.  So what's my next project?  Not sure.  One more pear to go and I'm trying to plan a few projects for giveaways in June leading up to my 60th.  Maybe paint a Santa box?
No, not this complicated and big.  
 Maybe a gourd.  But that's another hobby I haven't kept up with and stitchers want stitchy stuff.

SIXTY.  A new decade.  Where has the time gone?  Well, a lot of it has gone to searching for Stacy.  Nope.  Not yet.  

Apr 22, 2011

Happy Easter, Happy Birthday Mom

Hello to all - hope none of you have experienced the terrible storms across the states.  We are drowning in rain again.  Thanks for your comments on changing design elements.  I wrote about this issue before, saying that we are interpreting and personalizing and it's perfectly OK to embrace our errors and leave them in just as the young ladies did years ago.  But I didn't take into account how a designer would feel if we made changes, and none of you feel that they would mind.  So that's settled!  Here's my unapologetic changes to Fanny...
The big motifs at the bottom are all monotone, so I changed the flowers to blue (311) and rust (400) with green leaves.  Haven't done the last one yet but it will be similar.  Seems to perk it up a bit and I felt less bored about stitching this now.   I'll move the star motif over and probably do a brighter gold, so the bird errors are staying.

I am still in awe of Thread Gatherer's Ann Medd, and she recently posted a sweet little Singer that she snatched at an antique store.  I have one.  HAD one.  All I have left is this....
I searched for the machine for years with no luck.  I wasn't fond of it (at the time) and it was displayed on the table in the guest room.  We searched the attic, all closets, basement, everywhere, and it's gone.  Stacy is still missing too.  My husband asked if I'm sure I had it.  YES.  I just bought the chart and posted a picture of it!   He still calls me toast.
                                                  Today is Mom's birthday.  She passed at 89 and I still think she is sitting in her room, waiting for me to bring her something sweet.   It's been three years, and I miss her so much.
And speaking of sweets, I will try my best to NOT participate in the crowds on Monday at my two local chocolate makers' half off sale.  But I'm not making any promises.  Dad and I used to stand outside in line with the crowds and load our baskets with nut eggs and solid chocolate treats.  You can't beat our Daffin's and Philadelphia chocolates.  But just in case I regress, I ate a bunch of this...
 I LOVE Waldorf salad.  I'll be making stuffed cabbage tomorrow.  Easter was Mom's favorite holiday and her parents were from Poland so we're doing Polish food.  My Dad's parents were from Italy and that's usually our Christmas meal.  Bolbaki (sweet poppy seed and bread) was my favorite dessert from my husband's Slovak grandmother and I usually make that around Easter, but not this year.  I end up eating a LOT of it and just in case I'm in line Monday morning,  I'll refrain from baking. 
Hope you all have a joyous Easter.

Apr 18, 2011

Changing insults?

Hi!  Are any of you losing your mind today?  Is it life....or is it menopause?  Not only have I not found my Pears and Strawberries yet, but I was changing my header photo to this
until I realized the current photo is gone from my files.  What?   If I change it I'm afraid I won't get the header back since menobrain lost it.   How could I lose it?   So until I find it there will be no changes - just look at this one and pretend it's at the top.  Now....here's Fanny.  Another error.  I said we should just keep our errors and call it "personalization" and I planned on doing that until the star crashed into the border.   See the star to the right of the birds in the chart's photo?

Well mine doesn't fit.  My birds are missing are few feathers being one row shy of their true height.  Both of them - because instead of looking at the chart, I looked at the completed first bird for stitch count since they are the same.  Trying to take the easy way out again has cost me. 

 So I'm two rows up and had to rip out the star.  I decided to stitch the outside border and start from the bottom up now.  It'll give me time to decide on ripping the birds or changing placement - right now it's changing - by moving the star and circle over.  Hey - there's room - and Fanny has been planted for many years so she doesn't care.  I also think I may add some color in the motif flowers.  I wonder how the current designers feel about someone changing their designs, even slightly.  I mean, a counting or minor error aside, would it bother them if you moved something or really changed the colors?  They put so much time into making it a work of art, and then some woman with red boots and a bad attitude thinks she can improve it.  Well, Fanny's dead so it doesn't matter here, but would I be insulting the artist if I changed their layout?   It's like getting a good haircut, going home and seeing a flip so you cut it off, but now there's a hole, so you trim around the hole and before you know it - it's butchered.  Like pulling a loose thread that ends up unraveling the entire seam, once you start messing around, it never ends well.  My stylist is insulted and gets a little snarky when I mess up her work and I don't blame her.   She is afraid friends will think that butcher job was done by her.  If we changed a design creating a not-so-pleasing result, would the designer be upset since it's her name on the chart?  I doubt if any of us ever change anything other than a variation in color, but what if we did?  Would some feel insulted?

Apr 14, 2011

Stacy...where are you?

If it wasn't for my sore finger from making pomanders, I would be further along on Fanny.  The cloves stained my fingers but I doubt if it would transfer to the linen.  Here's a fresh, half dried, and fully dried.  Big difference!

The alphabet is finished, numbers next, and then the motifs.  Hopefully I will get to them tonight.
 I decided to do Stacy Nash's Pears and Strawberries, but I can't find it.  I've torn the house apart and now my stash that took me months to put away is all over the place.  How can I lose it?   I hope I didn't burn it yesterday!  Nah.  It will show up eventually in a weird place.  So I picked a few others.  One is the Ohio Sampler from Eye&Ewe.
The next is Pears Two from Historic Needlework Guild. 

I've had it for a very long time, LOVE it, but there's that "over one" thing.  Since it's so tiny, I think I may go ahead with it.  I don't plan on doing the back in drawn thread as it calls for, just using the same linen fabric for the back.  Unless I find Stacy! 
I can't tell you how many times I've had an item in hand, and then it magically disappears.   Some I still haven't found, but I'm sure Stacy is here somewhere.  In the search I came across a lot of other stuff I have no use for.  DMC metallic threads, metallic spools,  a lot of fuzzy stuff in several colors (Santa's beard thread?).  I may just pull that bead offer off since no one is interested.  In fact, I'll do it right now.  Goodwill is starting to have its own cross stitch section with all the stash I've taken in!  I even carry excess in my car in case I run into an Amish family.  Last week I approached a woman with her daughters and gave her 20 packs of embroidery needles.  She was a little apprehensive when she saw me calling to her.  I seem to have that effect on people. 

Apr 13, 2011

Was it the bear...or me?

This isn't related to stitching (except for the burning AidaUglies) but I mentioned in the prior post about burning papers and such, which I did this morning.  No hair involvement, which is good.  I knew I was not complying with the township burning hours, but we're on a dead end street with little traffic.  This morning was different.  There was a horrific fire that destroyed a home and business at 5 am, and firefighters (my nephews) and policeman were all over the area.  I didn't know of this, even though it was fairly close to my street.   I have a lid on my barrel and always take a bucket of water with me because even though I love to see those flames, I am extremely aware of the damage they can cause.  Because of the yard swamp, I had my red boots on, and there I stood at the fire when a police car came down.  Uh-oh.  I wondered how big the fine would be.  Maybe because it was drizzling and I had my water bucket he would let me go?  Or maybe the red boots would trigger a flashback he would rather forget....

A few years back when Mom had a visitor, I took the opportunity to work outside in the area behind my shed overgrown with brush and hanging limbs.  We have lots of briers, wild multiflora rose, and poison ivy so even though it was very hot and humid, I had on my red knee high boots, paint stained capris and tee, a huge torn nylon jacket with the lining showing through, big work gloves, and safety glasses.  Hey - I needed protection.  I cleared the brush and the bushes, sweating buckets, then took my bow saw and started cutting limbs.  Looking up as I sawed, the fine sawdust fell onto my sweaty face. One limb scratched my cheek pretty deep. I was out there for over 2 hours and then I heard "Yo!"   Startled, I popped out from behind the shed and there was a policeman standing in my back yard.  He was startled too and took a step back.  He was going house to house to warn of a bear that crossed the highway and went into the woods behind my house.  He still looked startled, I thanked him, and decided to get back in the house.  I proceeded to the bathroom where the full length mirror told me it wasn't the bear that put that look on his face.  What popped out at him was a 5'10" woman on a 92 degree day, soaking wet, with red boots, a torn jacket, red paint (or blood!) on a t-shirt, dried blood on her cheek, two huge black eyes from mascara and liner melted behind tight safety glasses, an indescribable facial skin texture caused from an even coating of sawdust stuck to sweat, a wild head of curly hair that had little twigs and sticks extending in all directions, holding a bow saw and a hatchet.  I'll bet he thought he needed to warn the bear about me - he figured I could take 'em.  Can you imagine seeing a lady looking like this holding a saw behind a shed in the woods?  That image may be why his car kept going and I didn't get fined.

Apr 8, 2011

48 what?

Guess what?  I learned something else about linen. There is a FORTY EIGHT count!  What?  When Bonnie first wrote to me about her 48 count stitching, I thought ...... what?   WHAT?  That's 18 more threads to that little inch than I use!  Say it ain't so!   Did she make a typing error?   Hit a 4 instead of 2, or maybe an 8 instead of a 0?   I feel like a stitch wimp trying to catch up to you 40 counters and here is a girl using 48!   And this was the real shocker - she likes to stitch over one.  The color drained from my floss and my linen went limp.  And then I remembered what a friend recently told me ...."you must remember to stay true to yourself and what you like".  And she is absolutely right. I will never be a 40 or 48 counter, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate and enjoy looking at the amazing pieces of work done by stitchers who are.   I have to do what makes me enjoy stitching, relax, and be comfortable with chosen projects.   I shouldn't feel inadequate because I can't keep up with the experienced and proficient stitchers whose blogs I visit almost daily, or the amazing .....
Bonnie The XLVIII.  
I am Marly The XXX!!!  
My projects will be a little larger and my background will show a little more, but I will not fret about pushing myself, or get frustrated enough to give it up.   I'm starting over, and maybe one day I will test myself with something more difficult but it should be when I am ready, if ever!   When I see these projects on your blogs,  it should be and is inspiring.   But not to choose the same fabric or count, or cotton or silk, but to stitch something just as beautiful, and be just as content doing so.   
I am Marly The XXX!! 
Give me chocolate!!!

This is Bonnie's Pine Tree Farm pinkeeps from Stacy Nash, on 48 count linen, walnut aged.  Below is Bonnie's Jane Thomas 1822 from Cardan on 48.
Thank you Bonnie for sharing your photos,  thank you all for inspiring me, and thank you Carol for your wisdom. 

Apr 6, 2011

The color of linen

These are my unbleached linens, 28 to 32 count, obviously from various sources, and the latest Golden Streak (Scarlet Letter) on the right.  They were purchased as yardage for future projects, wrapped and stored, and I never really compared them.   I didn't realize the variances in tone between manufacturers, thinking that "unbleached" would be about the same.  I feel like starting over with a new "as needed" policy!
When I started stitching, all of my samplers were kits from The Scarlet Letter on natural unbleached linen and I liked that look so I continued using what I'd started with for other samplers.  Many called for that same linen, others didn't so I changed to stronger thread colors.   I'm somewhere in between now and liking a softer golden brown that displays thread colors.  I still don't care for the very light shades...too modern and bright for me.  Sure there are colors out there I would use, but I don't trust the thumbnails online and my monitor.  Most of my drawer pieces are unmarked and some are kind of taupe or pinkish beige and I hate them along with Amber.  Time for some Clorox and Rit!   I didn't mess around with tea/coffee staining 25 years ago - no reason to, but it's a option for a warmer tint on light backgrounds.  Walnut stain is a little scarier because it stains immediately but I have some to try.  I've been playing around with old projects to gauge results.  These little hearts were puffy (no longer a fan of that) and bright until I worked on them today.  I used the coffee left in the filter to press on to the fabric and kept adding more water.  Yes it can break open! 

I've tried strong coffee in a little spray bottle too.  It dried a lot lighter than it looks here.
After I stained, I did the steam 'n smash.  You can see how they are still filled but much less puffy.
It's toned down, still pretty light and enough for now.
This flat cat is steamed and stained but when he was first completed, he was bright and plump.
I love this design but this unbleached linen is grayish and so drab, behind glass it's worse.  I still have a stash of this and will definitely have to change it. 

Also unbleached, but a warm brown - I like this shade and the colors stand out better

Unbleached again, this is my absolute favorite from 
Scarlet Letter. 

Wasn't this boring?  It is.  Boring.  I'm noting some changes and discoveries of being away from stitching for 20 years so it must be a yawn and I apologize for that.  I'll end with this tiny antique coin purse that I recently purchased.  I just love it.  My husband asked me "why?"!

Apr 5, 2011

The error of our ways

I hope this cold dreary wet morning finds you all well.  I'm a bit snarky.  The "s" word is in our forecast and even though it won't stay for long, just its name causes my hair to curl.  I wanted to show my progress on Fanny and tell you there is an error - and I don't care!!  How's that?  And my four-sided stitches on this thin linen are not real pretty - and I don't care!!  I 'm  loving this new found attitude. 
How did the term frogging come to be?  Back in the old days, we just said we needed to rip it out.  Of all the reproductions that I've stitched, I can't remember one that didn't have a mis-stitch.  Is that a word?  I'm sure there are some that are perfect, and frankly I hope I never stitch them.   The young  girls whose names are on the those samplers, made some obvious miscalculations and we embrace - not change them.  Wonky borders, missing stitches, and my personal irritant - those few stitches extending from the outline of the design that make framing difficult.   We're stitching from a chart, but it's still our work that is the final product, and if we change the size, color of linen, or thread, it's our interpretation of the design.  Those changes and our errors personalize the piece.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Researching the history of needlework or samplers isn't important to me.  Someone stitched it.  I like it.  I'll stitch it.  I don't care where it originated, or if the stitcher was 8 or 40 years old.  I do get upset with some of the young snots that were obviously trying to show off with their design's complexity.  So here's a question for you schooled needleworkers....were these young women's more detailed samplers charted before stitching?  Or did they pick up a needle and wing it?  How do we know for sure?  Is this a stupid question because we all should know?  Are there any old papers found that show their designs were planned?  I thought the complex borders would require forethought but they don't if the top and one side are completed before the center.   Doing a large focal point in the center would just require a fold, or an extension of the border.  Maybe some did and some didn't, or just certain aspects were planned in advance.  Do I care?  No, not really.  I was just curious and wanted justification for having my own uncorrected errors.   I had this post planned about linen colors and got all my pictures ready and then I go off on a tangent about this.  Maybe tomorrow.

Apr 2, 2011

Working on Fanny

Not much to show.  But having anything to show is progress for me.  I haven't started any other projects yet but I'm taking your advice and digging through the linen drawer. 
I've been spending more time exercising instead of stitching because of those little pastel colored foil kisses.  Damn.  You would think getting up and down twenty times to get more would be enough movement but it's not.  Trying to stop eating chocolate is like trying to get the pink off a pig. 

I received my gift from Beth..... Christmas note cards!

Something looked familiar in the photo - one of my favorite samplers!
 Thank you again Beth!  She has a video of the puppies (who are a little mouthy to say the least) which brought back memories of picking out our labs. 
Thank you all for your encouragement, it is certainly making a big difference.  So is the chocolate but in a completely different way.
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