Jun 30, 2011

Pear with me...

Hiya.  I'm making some progress on Pears Two but as always, two steps back also.  I decided to use the silks I inherited and matched colors with the DMC.  Not sure I like them.  No.  Wait.  I'm sure.  I don't like them.  I can't even pronounce them.  And they shred with every little frogging movement.  And I think they're fat.  One strand, 36 count (AUGH!), no problem on the large Eyes.  The over one is what's bothering me.  First of all, the silk I have is YLI and it's smoother, thinner, and less twist than Soie d' Alger.  YLI is the ABC and gold border.  Soie d' Alger is the over one letters.  It's too fat.  I found some Au Ver à Soie and decided to try that instead.  Seems smoother, less twist, looks a little better, still don't like it.  The letters are so bunched with floss that they are almost unreadable, to me anyway.  Obviously there is a big difference in brands of silk and dummy me thought not.  Wrong again.  Seems I'm learning a lot since picking up a needle again, but why is it always the hard way?  Lack of a local shop!!   Here's a few pics of my mess.

 Can you see the difference in the YLI (gold)?  It lays better in the border and is thinner.  Look how fat the little letters are.  This next one is with the Au Ver à Soie (recommended thread) on the right and although the picture doesn't show well, it looks a little less bulky but I still don't think you can see the letters.  I tried removing the Soie d'Alger and it's impossible.  It's shredding and I can't get under it to pull out - not even the Lift 'n Snips are working.  So now I have two different greens and will waste a lot of time removing what I can't remove.  I'm a determined old fart  I'm going to do a few stitches with one strand of DMC to see how thick it looks for future 36 count silk thread projects that I'll never do.  If I like it, is it wrong to mix silk and cotton?  Do I care?  So tell me, can you look at a framed sampler and tell if it's silk or not?  You can? 
 I decided to take a break so Bud and I had a donut.  I fried mine.  Bud #2 was not happy.  She's the prettiest of the bunch with her silver coat.
It's too bad I don't like the taste of alcohol.  A glass of wine might do me good.  But another two Advil and the sound of a second donut sizzling in that hot pan will work too.  
To be continued.....

Jun 28, 2011

Saint Clare

Hello boys and girls. I haven't posted since the 21st, a week ago, the day I moved into the 6th decade. Well, technically, I'm 40 with 20 years experience. I've been busy getting outside projects completed so I don't have a summer like 2010. Waiting, waiting, waiting, while staring at mud with no where to sit. I hired a new landscaper and he's already completed three projects so we should be done soon. Yes I work with them or watch them because I've been stung too many times, regardless of how good looking they are.  What?   I finally finished planting the flowers in pots.  One of my favorites is this little rusty paint can on a small hook. 

I pour old paint on to cardboard appliance boxes and when dry, burn.  I hate to throw the cans in the garbage (no recycling in my township) so I decided to let them rust, poke holes in the bottom, and plant! 
My other wire baskets I line with two layers of burlap, fill, and plant.  I put slits in the fabric and poke starts in the sides, eventually flowers cover the entire pot and no one sees the burlap.  Doesn't matter to me since I like primitive style crap anyway.   I've covered plastic pots with burlap too, and tied it on with raffia or jute.
 I haven't put this swing out for the last three years.  We had it custom made for mom, and you can see the handle on the post that she used to pull herself up.  Big swings were too unwieldy for her so I found someone to make a single.  We had it positioned to watch her from the kitchen window so I see it all the time, very hard.  But I love to swing in it like a little kid and remember how she enjoyed her special spot.  You can see another new paint can that hasn't rusted yet. 

Anyway, I'm haven't stitched and I'm really upset with myself.  But before I get into that, a blogger mentioned getting another pair of scissors recently, a new style, and I thought I would embarrassingly show you mine....

Fiskers.  Orange plastic Fiskers.  Did I hear tsk tsk tsk?  Are you embarrassed for me or am I not the only one that uses orange plastic scissors???  Should I treat myself to a pretty pair? 
Tonight I will work on that Pears Two chart since the supplies were pulled a while ago. Part of why I'm procrastinating is having to find the linen, figure the size, and CUT it. Grow up girl. It does no one any good sitting in a drawer. If a project was ready to go, I would certainly have started it, but I really hate searching through linen and trying to figure out the count. Excuses excuses. So this came to me when I was digging a hole.....do we have a patron saint to pray to when we are in stitch distress? You probably all know that we do, but I didn't.   She is Saint Clare.   I found her story here and I enjoyed the article. Another article from the New York Public Library is here. Technically she is Saint Clare of Assisi and developed Assisi embroidery. If you are like me and unaware that stitchers have a patron saint, it is pretty interesting to read.  Never did I expect to find her when I Googled for patron saints.  Maybe she and I will have a long talk tonight. 
Thank you for visiting, commenting, emailing, and putting up with stitching absentia.   Not sure if that is the correct term for my affliction, but I don't care.  I own it.  And it ends tonight!!!

Jun 21, 2011

Antique Samplers

This photo is from the Antique Samplers.org site homepage.   It's their featured sampler, Margaret Jack.

Hello all you stitchers who are actually working on a project, big or small, with enthusiasm and intent to complete, along with the desire to pick up another project at the same time, or if not, to at least be contemplating the next design to be worked, colors of linen dancing in your head, choices of threads dangling from the chosen fabric, excitement at the first few stitches of colors on that blank canvas, driven to continue on as the design comes to life, the bittersweet final stitch......
Sounds like fun - so what's my problem?  I'm still not ready to commit to a larger project.  In fact, I've been so busy with outdoor hard labor that I really haven't had time or energy to focus on a project.  Contractors promise they will show up for work, and then make you wait and wait.   Back to stitching.  I haven't visited Antique Samplers for quite some time, but did this evening.  I even forgot that you have to click the years at the bottom of the page to browse.  Amazing wonderful samplers.  I started at 1826 -1850 because I'm the type that starts a magazine from the back.   Ann Bowness,  Ann Campbell,  Agness Buchanan,  Christian Cochrane and SO many others that have houses or buildings as focal points, which is what attracts me to a larger sampler.  Quite a bit of interesting information on samplers also, well worth revisiting.  As you know, you can spend hours clicking on each one.   I'll be doing just that, hoping for motivation.  My goal is to continue with smalls, but also have a larger project started.  Lucy Redd is what I chose but .....  not sure what the but is!  Procrastination?  Probably.  Preoccupation with turning 60?   BINGO!!

Jun 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

To Dominic Casaccia, my wonderful dad.  It's been 10 years since we lost you and those tortuous weeks of your suffering haven't left us, and never will.  Neither will our memories of your love for us, your kindness to others, generosity, and devotion to your family.  While looking for an old picture of you in our family photos, I realized there are no photos of you alone.  There was always a family member or mom with you, I guess because you never wanted to be the center of attention.  But I did find this, taken 60 years ago....... just you and me Dad.

I love you and miss you,
your baby girl

Jun 13, 2011

Sampler bag freebie

Please bear with me!  I have no idea how to do this correctly so if this doesn't work - I'll try to find the correct procedure and post again.  There is a chart with color only, and one with symbols.  I don't think this program shows the symbols clearly so I wanted to post both.  I'm editing here to add that I checked the blog once this was posted and the symbols for the vase are not correct.  I can't get them to be all the same but they should be - the color is 844 and the vase is solid.  Same with the bird - the legs have two symbols but they should be all 844.  The program is very user friendly, but I can see now that it saves differently than the original file.  Yikes.  Using the color chart, it may be hard to tell the browns apart, so 898 is the middle border line and the entire small alphabet.  The other brown areas are 829.  The page with floss colors is separate.  Why?  Because I can't get them on one page!!!  WHY???  You should be able to click on them to enlarge, save, and then print.  Please email and let me know if this isn't working.   I hope this works and hope you enjoy the chart!!  Feel free to email me with problems or comments.  I'm new!!!  Help!!

I also forgot to mention in the prior post that I kept the selvage edge showing on the bag because it has a little fuzz looking like chenille trim and I liked that. 

I'm stitching!!!

Hello everyone.  I finished my little sampler bag/pouch/pocket.  Here it is....

I like it!  SO much easier when it's not fabric that needs stretched to be straight, interfacing, lining, and fleece!  This is much more my style and as someone once told me - stick to what you like!  It works.   I enjoyed it so much that I am doing another on the saffron colored linen.  Here's the lining I used. 

Not sure how the color of this fabric is showing so here's another pic in the sun...

I charted this and will be posting a freebie of it later today or tomorrow morning.  Not sure if you will like it, but I do!   I'll check Blogger help to see how to do it, and I hope some of you will be interested in stitching it.   

I am still undecided about framing Fanny, so here's where she is perched...

A few other things I wanted to bring up.  I've been blog lurking for a few years, and I've never seen Amelia Boyce.  SL has her back on the purchase list, but I really can't see the stitching very well.   Is the cathedral all cross stitch or left bare?  I love the design (and will never stitch it) but it's always intrigued me, especially since I've never seen a close up or an actual stitched piece.  Maybe it was popular before my lurking.  

I have to tell you what happened the other day at McDonald's when I stopped for a quick cup of decaf.  While I was waiting at the counter for the pot to brew, an older gentleman with a toupee as obvious as black on white, looked at me and said "you got some wild hair".   Then he winked.  He was 6'4", his rug was thick, curly, and reddish.  I'm 5'10" with hair that is thick, fuzzy, and REAL.  Can you imagine?   Hub said he probably thought we would make a cute couple.   Or at least command attention.

I'll be back with the chart later.....I'm going to my brother's to see the latest feral litter of six.  He can't keep any more or afford to have any more spayed, so these are going to a farm which kills me.  There will be at least 20 more in nine months.  Mom and three of the babies are calico (99.9% are females) so that's 4 at least.  Our agencies are over run and can't take any more.  He is the only one in his area that is feeding and trying to help these homeless babes.  He just spent another $50 today for antibiotics for two from the last litter.  Thank goodness for ONE vet that will dispense for ferals.  None of our others will help without bringing the animals in.  Do they not understand the word FERAL????

Jun 9, 2011

Boring...but necessary

Welcome back to my boring posts, albeit necessary because I am stalling on stitching.   I've been screwing around with these Moda fabrics from Blackbird Designs.  I said I was done, and I did put the other skewed print away, but I started on another color. 

The outcome...

Other side..

And inside..

Yes, I am a fusspot.   I'm not happy with this bag either.  The little strawberries without their hats are to be the zipper pull.  In eighth grade, my home ec teacher asked me to knit a cardigan for her with buttonholes and pockets.  And construct a wool jacket.  I must have been finicky back then!!  One of the reasons these projects were so aggravating was  - lack of a pattern.  I tried to use the design to determine size and without a cutting/sewing pattern, it wasn't a pleasant experience.  Instead of taking my time and measuring properly or making a cutting pattern, I just forged ahead which is a bad habit of mine.  So what am I doing now?  Same thing with stitching....

Instead of starting a large project, which I fully intend in the next few weeks, I decided to just wing it.  I don't think I want to start something with a detailed pattern.  A little freedom is needed.   WHAT??   Did I just say freedom?   Ironic, since the lack of detailed instruction and pattern is what has been riling me.  But right now, if I went to a chart and messed up - which has happened quite a bit in the last projects - I'm afraid I will put it aside completely.  Can't let that happen!!  Can I really continue blaming hot flashes for lack of reasoning?  Sure.  Moving on. This linen color has been calling to me for quite a while.  I never really liked it for my primitive preference, but it has wormed its way into my noggin.  No design for it - never had one. I cut into the yard and survived.  The plan, for lack of a better word, is to just stitch the alphabet on the end of the fabric that will become a flap for a lined pocket.  Kind of like these that I did years ago on a banded linen...
It's just something to do.  It's stitching.  How do you think this will turn out?  It shouldn't take long at all so we'll see.  On another note....I go to my blog to check for updates on your sites that I follow, and just happened to click on one from someone else's blog.  There were new posts that I never saw!  I didn't realize that when I become a follower (adding to my reading list), it doesn't automatically show on my blog roll.  I thought that roll was made up of ALL blogs I follow - wrong again.  So now I won't take any chances and will use the reading list instead. 
Hope you all have a good weekend.  Thanks for reading and commenting - it's really appreciated - especially when I'm not productive!  I promise to change that.

Jun 3, 2011

Give me the matches!

Hello.  My name is Marlene and I am a firebug.  I burn papers, wood scraps, sticks, and an occasional little bastard like this....
This started out as a give-away,  Originally, it had green piping trim with this floral fabric back.  Then I decided to do a pouch, then a pocket, now it's a tri-fold pain in my ass.  The piping stayed on during all the changes and when I finally applied it to the front of this, I didn't like it.  Make a long story short - a flash - and I literally ripped the piping off (seam was already trimmed) and ended up with fringe right up to the stitches.  But I figured, it's free, you won't care.  I have wasted days on this.  I tried to throw it out the window but it hit the screen and flew back.  Then there was the fleece incident.  We won't even go there.  But I was determined to hold my patience and continue with alternatives.   The inside has  had (the feathers will be fried by the time you read this) two lined pockets...

This is very structured because of the gabardine used on the outside.  Not my style at all.  But I thought, what the hell?  It's free. Now.  The final straw.  Look at what you see when it's first opened ....
See that dark line on the bottom flap?  You know what that is?  It's Heat n Bond Ultra Hold for fabrics.  My fingers are so sore, red, and burned,  from steaming the little bird bastard's edges, that I couldn't get a needle through these fabrics.  My next trip to Jo-Ann will be to purchase that finger protector for ironing.  I decided to use the iron-on tape to hold the final seam shut.  That line you see, is the Heat n Bond glue that came through the fabric.  It's done.  Cooked.  Ready for flame.  In fact, we have a large open spit, a ton of downed limbs and twigs, and I can burn it right in the open instead of a closed barrel.  I need to watch it.  So here's what's next on the aggravation roster.

This is no where near complete.  I have managed to match the flap to the front's design and have the basic shape.  So what's the problem, you ask?  I ordered this fabric online and it's crooked.  The design is slanted terribly and doesn't follow the weave.  I have played with this for a week and think I have it, but the fabric may end up pulling because it's off-grain.  Keep your fingers crossed that this works out and soon.  I am way behind on my sewing plans, STILL haven't stitched, and honestly, this give-away may end up being chocolate.  Store-bought, already wrapped, no seams involved, chocolate.  If it makes it to the post office.
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