Aug 31, 2011

Another box

Hello everyone.   I haven't started a major project yet and thought about doing something with this paper mache box.  I have several since they are inexpensive and I really like the shape and the hinged lid. 

I used linen band - one of my favorite quick stitch choices - but I haven't attached it to the lid yet.  I covered the box with fabric and tried aging it by sanding the fabric edges and corners and overdid it - not too happy with the result - so I may either do another box or ????  I made the closure button from knotted hemp.  The more I look at it, the more I dislike it.   In fact, I should be embarrassed to post this but one of the perks of getting older is being pardoned for your mistakes. 

I received these 100% wool throws and wondered if I could throw them in a vat of dark dye to blend the bright colors into a darker plaid.  I've never hooked but would like to try other projects with applique or penny rugs.  They're pretty thick so I don't think felting would be a good idea. 

 But what do I know.  I put my 10 bags of Dove chocolate pieces on the second floor because I checked online and found that 50 calories are burned  going up and down stairs.   One piece is around 40, so thinking I was outsmarting my hips, this was a great plan.   The calories I consumed were burned to get one!  Then why was I still gaining weight?  Surely eating 10 pieces a day didn't matter since I made a separate trip upstairs for each one.  Wrong.  I checked again - the 50 calories was for 5 minutes of stair climbing, not one trip.  Calories consumed are way ahead of calories burned.
I also have another new friend. 
He is very large yet very thin and cries so loudly as he walks around the yard and the woods.  It is so different and haunting.  I don't know why, unless he is missing the idiots that disowned him?  So along with his pregnant girlfriend (who he looks for and stays with as much as he can), I have an un-neutered male to be fixed.  Black, white feet, neck and unusual solid white whiskers. 
I'm very very upset that it's September since I am a summer child and I hate watching the leaves clutter the yards warning of the oncoming cold.  Especially with my bigger than expected hips.

A project needs to be chosen tomorrow, even if it's small.  I'm not feeling the love lately.  I started a Halloween design but couldn't do it.  Following a design without the letters and layout of a sampler was not enjoyable.  What about my Santas?  I need to try one of them and see if I have the same problem.  Everyone has stitching slumps but I know myself well enough to know how easily I can lose interest.  Maybe that's why I didn't really put an effort into the box.  So is it a slump or a waning desire?  The project I choose will tell the tale.
Talk to you soon...thanks for visiting! 

Aug 25, 2011

And the finish is......

Option #4!   Which wasn't available yesterday.  This is a first for me.  Two posts in 24 hours. 
 My brilliant idea didn't work.  When I did the nun stitch on the sampler bottom, the linen thread edges were sticking out and I wasn't a happy girl lady woman.  I realized that the only way this would not look like a patch job was to have the nun stitch on the added piece, sewn over the sampler's linen.  So I sewed the edge by hand to prevent further raveling and when I moved my arm to grab the phone, the needle and all the linen threads came with it!  So now the edge was even shorter.  The machine sewing is still the best when it's a matter of losing more threads and it worked nicely...

I did the edge stitch on the piece to be added and then removed two threads to turn it back with less bulk.  Once again, attaching by hand was not going well, so I went to the machine and just stitched into the nun stitch, then cut away the excess beneath.  I think it turned out very nice.  If you didn't know the sordid details of this episode, you'd have no idea it's a patch job. 

So I started playing with where to hang it.  Several options....

 On an interior door...

on the side of a cabinet...

 on my jelly cupboard's door...    

in the window without the fabric backing...
 in the window with the backing.

And then I spotted this.....from Pennsylvania Basket Company.

Well, that about clinched it. 

I may frame it later by removing the added fringe and sewing a binding to the bottom for mounting.

I want to thank Irene from Starry-eyed-stitcher for correctly identifying the nun stitch for me.  After searching my Proper Stitch and not finding anything close, I was about to give up.  Without your help Irene I couldn't have completed this as I did and I'm happy with the results.  So what's next?  My order for Scarlett House's Coverlet Birds came last week and I just found it yesterday so I may start it tonight before I misplace it again.  I plan on using Sampler Threads if I have enough of a comparable color.  If not, DMC will be fine.  But hey, you know how this goes.  The project never ends up being what I planned!!  To be continued.....

I had a problem with yesterday's post and had to keep re-publishing until it appeared - we'll see how it goes today.  Thanks for reading and for everyone's help and suggestions.  It is greatly appreciated, and certainly needed!

Aug 24, 2011

The fringe element

Hello guys and dolls.  I finished the stitching on France F ....

Now for the big decision.  If you remember, the fabric is 27 instead of 28 and that made a big enough difference to short me in this long sampler for continuing the fringe.  So here's what I came up with..

I need to back the sampler with fabric anyway so I played around with it before I even finished stitching.  I took a piece of the same linen and sewed it to the inside bottom of the backing.

When I lay the sampler over the back, the linen piece extends.  My decision is whether to do the nun stitch across the bottom where it will hide the seam, and then fringe the added piece, or just hem the bottom without fringe as the top is.

The backing will be hand stitched along the inside of the nun stitches, and you can see how the added linen will be hidden inside.  If I do the nun properly, you may never know.  I was excited about this idea and then changed my mind.  Big surprise.  Whenever a decision of any kind is needed, I waffle.  Then I finally settle, and the waffle comes back.  My husband always encourages me to buy the item that I don't want because he knows I'll be back for it the next day.  Framing was originally not an option for me, but the chart's photo shows it framed right up to the sampler's border and I'm liking it now.  Right now, at 7:38 pm, I am planning on hemming the top and bottom and having just the sides fringed.  Or continuing the nun stitch and adding the linen piece.  Well....for sure it won't be framed tomorrow.  Maybe later after I live with the fringe...or no fringe...for a while.  Or a day.  I'm on a carb high right now, so we'll see what tomorrow brings.  Whatever it is, I just love this sampler and it's colors (even the ones I changed), and I'm sorry I didn't stitch this years ago.

Here's my little buddy that is giving me another dilemma. 
She is constantly rolling and pawing around me as I sit outside, but I haven't tried to pet her.  With no movement or threat on my part, she will all of a sudden draw blood from my legs.  Yesterday she started eating while I held the dish - no problem.  Today, after all the rolling,  rubbing, and meowing, she turned and swiped my leg again.  She's not playing.  When I bent over to set her food down, she lunged at my face.   And I think she is pregnant.  Not sure how this will play out.   

So the next post will be fringe or no fringe, but backed and displayed.......oh no.   Where?  How?  Damn these decisions.   Do they have a pill for this?  
Thanks for visiting!

Aug 21, 2011

A drawer, a jar, and an appetite

Hello everyone.  You probably expected to see France F completed!  Well, when I have a reduction in hot flashes, I have an increase in appetite and ADD.   Let's see.....which do I prefer.....being as sticky as velcro, or stuffing my face in a state of confusion.  Sticky.  At least I can still get my pants on when I dry out.

France is almost completed.....
Whenever I have these wacko eating days, I can't sit still or concentrate on one thing for very long.  Working on France would always be interrupted by an idea swimming in the menopool.   I started playing around with the little drawer.  I stitched on a tiny scrap of fabric that I was surprised to find since I normally would toss it.   It fit the entire top but while pressing it, I spotted this swatch of fabric and decided to mix them with this result...

Cute isn't it?  I edged it with jute, one of my favorite trims when using unbleached or natural dark linen, then painted and distressed the box.


It's only 4 inches wide and 2 1/2 deep.  I plan on doing the double drawer with a long pincushion roll on top.

I picked up France again and made some progress, then had difficulty trying to lift my scissors from the table with my thick arthritic fingers.  I decided to drop the stitching and come up with something that would allow me to easily handle them and also provide a safe storage place while protecting the blades. 

Here it is....

 My scissor jar.

I made a little center indented pillow, and used two layers of pinked-edge felt around the inside of the glass in case I miss the cushion.  It's not much, but for me it's practical.  I have a retractable ID clip that I attach scissors to when stitching but I wanted a place to keep them together and grab easily.  More importantly, I know where they are!

I was visiting blogs the other day and saw Nicole's Hawk Run stitching.  The designs in this series are wonderful but the completed piece isn't really my style.  Yet every time I see someone stitching a Hawk, I love it and would like to stitch a few.  Has anyone ever stitched these individually for ornaments on a Hawk Run tree?  I would like to try that, using different linen colors and a small twig or wire tree for display. 

France F will certainly be finished in a day or so.   There is another project hanging in the back of my brain that I will probably start and that's a Santa box.  These other little items are thrown together without a pattern or plan and if they don't end well, I burn them.  But painting Santa isn't something to throw together on a whim, so I need to make sure it's not an ADD day.   I found more Aida and even weave plus the afghan fabric so I will be stalking Amish women in parking lots again.  It's not easy to approach strangers and try to give them something without some apprehension on their part.  I'm still up in the air on the huge linen tablecloth, thinking I could use that beautiful fabric for backing, but it was meant to be a cloth gracing a large family table.  

Well boys and girls, I'm running out of potato chips, so I need to check on the cheese drawer, possibly hit the freezer for a fried glazed donut.  YES!!  Good idea.   I am so tired of the flashes but on days like these, I would welcome them.
Thanks for visiting!  Talk to you soon.... 

Aug 16, 2011

Slow progress-but hey-it's progress

Hello everyone.  First of all, I listed a bunch of chart photos on the Soon to Sell tab if you want to get an idea of the types of charts I will be listing on EBay.  Nothing related to samplers though-mostly Christmas.  This is really going to be a PITA and take quite a while.  Moving on...

This sampler should have been done by now but as usual, isn't.  I'm still loving it though.  The motifs have a few color changes - there is a lot of pink (407) and I decided to make the swan ecru and some of the fruit 902. 

The landscapers were here yesterday and I had been getting things ready for them so I was busy with those chores.  All the storm damage is repaired now and only a few chores remain which they will do in a few weeks.  It's hard to believe summer is almost over.  Being a procrastinator, my contractors aren't lined up for the house repairs that I planned on this fall.  THIS FALL.  That's right around the bend and it's my own fault if nothing gets done.  Indecision is a big part of procrastinating.  If I knew what I wanted, had a plan, or didn't change my mind depending on flash intensity, I would get much more accomplished.   I guess it's the same when choosing a new stitching project.  Those of you that kit a chart are smarter than I am - it's ready for action!  I waste time trying to decide which linen, do I cut into a yard or search for a piece, most need recalculated because of count, am I sticking with those thread colors, yadda yadda.  So should I kit a few pieces so I have no excuse?  Of course.  But which ones?  Oh no....what a vicious circle.

I was so taken with Hanging on by a Thread's purse finish here and then With Thy Needle and Thread's mother of pearl purse here, I decided to search for a purse frame.  I found a very small one and the next size was a bright silver that had clasps the size of bowling balls. 

But I did find these sweet little single and double drawers which I plan on sanding, painting, and attaching a pincushion or strawberry on top.  They're cheap and light, made from balsa wood probably, but I think they are adorable.

On the way back from hub's trip to get a new fishing rod, we stopped at Mr. D's in Ohio and I got my stash for the freezer.  I have a very old wonderful recipe for making home made whipped cream frosting, but ask your local grocery store bakery if they sell it, and voila!  Easy as can be.  I always buy these large tubs and freeze them.  Some stores charge a lot, this one doesn't and it's the same icing they use on their orders.  They also sell the butter cream but I prefer the less sweet whipped cream.   

 This is my mother's signature birthday cake and still our family favorite.  It's a sponge or chiffon and has such a lovely texture.  This one is chocolate chip, which is the basic sponge recipe with shaved bittersweet or semi-sweet baking chocolate pieces throughout.  The other is called mahogany, same basic except with cocoa, no shavings, and a flavor that is not like the traditional box cake chocolate.  Neither of these are sweet - they are just perfect.

See the wonderful sponginess?  Of course, this is the test piece before icing...a good baker always tests the product to ensure the quality.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.   This shape is perfect for testing.  A skinny slice missing?  A gentle push and the opening heals and disappears.  Depending of course on how many slices you test. 

Well I guess that's enough non-stitching information for a while.  I'm heading outside to work on my sampler.  If we go to Shaker Woods this weekend I'll take a few pictures to show you how neat this woodland shopping experience is.   Take care everyone, thank you for visiting!

Aug 10, 2011


Hello ladies and gents.  Look what I made today....

It's Threadwork Primitives's freebie from July .....

that you can find here.   Still thinking about the fabric counts of the different linens, I pulled a few pieces that are still labeled from the old shop.   I don't expect all 32 counts to be exactly the same but after what happened on my current project, I wanted to see if there is a visible difference.  I have a piece of gorgeous pale lemon called "Melinda" (30 count) and although not linen, is so close in feel and texture.  The other three pieces are 32 count linen and Belfast.  Amazingly, the Melinda in 30 is a smaller stitch than the linens in 32.

One thing led to another and I ended up starting this small project to see if the count matched the expected measurement.  It's marked 32 count but not the brand.  I don't like it.  It feels almost synthetic and the fabric threads were actually splitting when I was stitching.  Originally a very light off white, boiling hot coffee and a clear rinse turned it into a very nice color.  Several flashes later, I forgot all about the reason for the project and ended up completing it.  You know, my mother and her sisters never had one symptom of menopause, so is this sticky body of mine the cumulation of the family females?  Geez.  Back to stitching....   I never did check the measurement.   But it fit perfectly on my oval paper mache box, so I painted, sanded, and fit the pincushion atop, deciding against the chenille trim that I cut for it.  I like it.  Changing course...
When trying to determine the stitch used on the fringed edge of my current sampler, I referred to my books and was surprised that the nun stitch was not in The Proper Stitch.  Hmm.  Not in Shay Pendray's Needleworker's Companion either.   Ginnie Thompson's Linen Stitches had it.  So there's the answer as to why we need several books showing cross stitches.  I don't have a library of sampler books except for  these few...

I have two copies of this....

 I checked on Amazon and Google and I couldn't believe what they are asking for this!!!    Amazing number of diagrammed stitch patterns.

So that's about it.  My brother found a farm that will take the last four kittens so we are trying to round them up for spaying Friday.  My cat brat is still visiting, fussy as heck, and wants cream.  Real cream, thank you ma'am.  I think she has a home and is just coming for treats. 

Back to the sampler tomorrow.   My easy 28 count stitch.  I need to do more on the 30 and 32 and just keep at it until I stitch as easily as on 28.  Or 27 that looks like 28 and throws my measurements off.   Oh!  One more thing.  Check out Shaker Woods Festival.   You can click several photos on their website to get a feel for the wonderful show that is held every year about an hour from here.   There's everything from inexpensive dookies, to high end pieces.  You park in a huge field on a country road and the cows behind the fence get a look at every kind of vehicle imaginable.   That's it!  I'm done  Cooked.  Sticky.  Time for another shower.
Thanks for visiting !  I appreciate your comments, suggestions, help, and hellos!

Aug 8, 2011

Too close for comfort

Hello people.  Menobrain struck again.  How many of you knew this was coming??  I started getting nervous about having enough fabric to complete this sampler so I stitched the border and held my breath.  The closer I came to the bottom, the more I realized an error.   Instead of the 15" as I planned, it's 15.8"  

Not a big deal unless you're doing something as daring stupid as I am.   In recalculating, as my GPS does continuously, that is the exact measurement for 27 - NOT 28 count.  You wouldn't think that one thread is so critical, but in a 212 stitch length - it is! 

So what are my options? 
#1 - I could leave it as it and do a very small hem instead of fringe at the bottom.
#2 - Stop the border design where the straight green thread is and instead continue the bottom row as a single row of stitches.

#3 - Rework the design to take up 12 stitches in order to keep the border design and have enough room for fringe.  WHAT?
#4 - Fringe the bottom directly under the border, trim the side fringe to match. 
#5 - Forget the fringe.  Do a small hemstitch close to the border, mount it on mat board, and frame it.

I'm not sure if it's important to have the same width of fabric (before the fringe) on the bottom as the sides, since the top will be hemmed close to the border.

I've come a long way since starting this blog.  Six months ago, one raging hot flash and this project would have been ash in the blink of an eye.  But I really like these colors and the easy stitch and have no intentions of not completing the design on this fabric.   

So while I ponder my options, I have another decision to make.  Chocolate?  Or pretzels dipped in peanut butter?

Thank you all for the emails regarding your concern over my doctor's lack of knowledge.  But really, she is great and I don't fault her for not recognizing this.  It's uncommon and temporary, and the radiologist even came out to test for herself after the tech sent the images.   She had not seen it before either.  Long story short, they thought it was the lymphatic system since it mimics an also uncommon condition caused by breast cancer, but it's an inflamed (for no obvious reason) vessel carrying blood.   Who knew?  
And the decision is made.  It will be a piece of chocolate, followed by peanut butter dipped pretzels.   As for the bigger decision,  I've already completely ruled out three of the options and am focusing on one.  For now, until further flash, it will be hemmed and framed on a mat board.
Thanks for reading, your concern, and your comments!  Later....

Aug 6, 2011

Cheap scissors and progress

Hello everyone.  I really expected to sit and stitch all day this week, but it didn't happen.  I only had an early morning doctor appointment and the day was to be mine.  Well, as usual, I have something weird.  It's never good when your doctor looks at you and says "what the hell is THAT??", but I already knew it to be nothing.  I googled it.  So I explained to her what it was, the name of the condition, that it is benign, but why I have it is a total mystery since I don't have the cause which is a serious condition.  Nevertheless, she sent me for testing for two days so my days of stitching on the swing got sidetracked.  I'm fine.  She is still baffled and not dropping the issue, but I have.  Going back to the hospital that put my dad through the most horrible weeks of our lives, brought it all back.  I was pulling my stitches so tightly, that I could see my wrinkled thighs through the stitching holes in the linen.  Which is what I have to show you...

I'm really enjoying this sampler.  It's a easy stitch, just enough alphabet, and the motifs are big enough to not be constantly changing needles for new colors.   If I don't have any other distractions and loosen my tension a little, I should be done this week. 
Take a look at what I found at Altmeyer's.  If you don't have one near you, it's a towel and curtain  and bedding store, some seconds, some not.  These were on the counter and I snatched two pair.  Sweet!!!
Here's how my rusted paint can is doing, and another that is new this year and just starting to rust.   If you save your cans, make sure you save the lids too.  You can tin punch designs in them, set them outside to completely rust (or spray paint them before they do) add candles inside and hang them on the 3' shepherd's hook with the lids on.   Hot glue the candle to the bottom or you can add some sand, but you don't have to unless you get really high winds.  Brand new clean cans can be purchased in most paint departments.

Husband - "where's the leftover salmon loaf?"

Stray cat - "I'm full.  Think I'll take a nap".

Have a good week everyone.  Temperatures are supposed to be diving this week.  Hope the stock market doesn't follow suit.

Thanks for visiting!!
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