Aug 31, 2012

The stitchin' swing

Hi to everyone on a sad day for me.  Summer's over.  September starts the fall season for me even if the temps are still high, which they are today.  I'm taking advantage of the warmth, and my swings.  There's something about that slow steady movement that calms the nerves and relieves the stress.  It does it for babies, and carries through to elderly folks.  My mom and dad always had a backyard swing, the first being held by a stand made from shiny black pipes.  The last was a wooden stand with that same black swing, now hanging in my garage.  It calmed mom and put dad to sleep.  They would bundle up even when it was cold and enjoy the soothing motion.  I've found that it does the same for me. 
The single swing we had built for mom when she lived here, is purposely high enough for my feet to swing free.  It starts with a slow but deliberate motion and as the stress melts away, I swing as high as the kids on playgrounds. Really high.  It's so much fun, and I always end in a upbeat mood.  When I'm not reaching for the sky, I stitch here.

I have hanging hooks that I use to hold necessities, and the handle installed for mom to lift herself off the swing will always be in place to hang my scissors.  The big swing is another stitching spot and offers more room, but my favorite is mom's.  So today is when I realize there won't be many more stitching afternoons in my favorite spots. 

My wrist is getting no better and I believe there is a crack, a tendon/ligament tear, or something related that they missed.  I have a new very restrictive brace and holding the fabric is still painful. But I started a sampler that I came across by accident.  Mary Oldfield from SANQ #41.  You can see a finished example from Tempus Fugit here, the fabulous blog!  Mary happened to be in with the santa charts and since I can't hold too wide of a fabric, thought she would be a good choice to start.  And I did.  On three different linens, deciding on the medium shade, and also because the linen piece was narrower and easier to hold.  See that?  A decision!  But that's the only one. I would love to hire a decision maker, but so far haven't found that heading in the Yellow Pages. And when I do, I hope there's only one cause I don't want to be confronted with a hiring decision.  If you're wondering why it's every other letter, I haven't decided on the other floss shade I want to use for this linen color.  I have two other much smaller samplers lined up and may switch to them if I can't handle this amount of fabric.
 I'm going back outside to sit with Bud and stitch more.  I'll leave you with a photo of him in his favorite box.
 My doe is still coming for bread several times a day and her fawns are losing their spots.  She came one night about midnight and scared the heck out of me when I saw a figure moving outside the window!

I hope if any one of you or your loved ones are affected by the flooding, that you find relief and help quickly.  Thank you again for visiting with me, and welcome to new followers.  I hope there's enough to keep all of you interested, entertained, or inspired.  I gain inspiration and the most wonderful finishing ideas, help and instruction, information and new products, or just awesome photos from visiting yours.  And, of course, stash enabling.  So to all of you stitching bloggers, thank you.  Stay safe, enjoy the holiday weekend, talk to you soon.

Aug 29, 2012

Eunice's frame and sticky pins

Hello!  My frame for Eunice came in on time.  I had the sampler here and took it to Hobby Lobby to have them assemble the work.  This is my first piece of Museum glass and the clarity is amazing!  But.  It has the same glare as the other glass at certain angles. 

I hung her where it is the worst to see if there would be any difference.  No. Worth almost 3x the cost of regular glass?  There is a huge difference in your work's appearance, but not in reflections so for me, no.  The cost for this glass in Lucy's frame would be $124.  Mark said for everything Lucy put me through, I should get it!  I'm not.

This 2" wide pumpkin colored frame was not first choice since I always go for a dark wood, but the more I thought about it ......  so I changed the order.  I question and doubt everything, wondering if it's another quirk of menopause or was I always like this.  I can't remember.  So for those of you interested in how they did, the frame is perfect.  As for mounting the work itself, I can't comment since I did my own.   Staples were used and he didn't shoot them into the linen.  I noticed a tiny piece of something on the light linen that should have been blown off and as soon as we got in the car, Mark said, "you're taking it apart aren't you", to which I replied with a look he clearly understands after 42 years.  Museum glass is very tricky and the interior side's coating can scratch, or leave fingerprints so I won't touch it.  The price for the  9" x 9 1/2" frame and Museum glass was $69 -   $45.90 frame, $4.50 for spacers, $3 for acid free back board, $15 for Museum glass with coupon or $5 for regular.  I also bought a large piece of acid free foam board with 40% off.  A similar frame for a smaller 5 x 7 piece at my local shop will be close to that.  I found several online framers that are reasonable and may take a chance ordering a few that way.      
I've read articles on using stainless steel pins for mounting and how the magnets we use to find dropped pins, do not work on stainless.  Well, looky here.    Every pin in this new box jumped on to the magnet, which is a strong one, but they also stuck to a fridge magnet.  Yes there is a magnetic stainless which I thought was only used in specific industrial applications.  My few older pins are not magnetic, neither are the ones in men's new dress shirt collars, and why would framers mention the lack of magnetic properties?   It states stainless on the package and  I wrote to them but haven't heard back. 
I'm sure you're all familiar with the greatest curtain catalog, Country Curtains, and when I received my latest issue I found sheers in a gingham check (which mom would have loved) and these Parisian Note panels and valances.  Neat!  Not for me, but neat!  They have the nicest selection and quality materials.

I mentioned that I should be offering a thank you gift for reaching 400 followers and haven't made a decision on that yet but will soon.  There's that word again - decision.  You have no idea how many days I've wasted on the $#%@ kitchen.  I need a pill!!!  That's it.  I can't believe it's Labor Day.  NOOO!!!!  I don't want summer to end but I can see the dying flowers and leaves cluttering the yard.  
Cool nights.  Darkness coming earlier each week.  Say it ain't so.
Thanks for visiting.  Enjoy the week - talk to you soon!

Aug 25, 2012


Happy Saturday.  It's almost over so have a happy Sunday. 
First off, Kellie from Indiana (no blog) will be receiving the charts.   If you'll notice, the first one opened says "Splenda".  I jotted it down as a reminder and must have thought it looked like a name.  Kellie, email me with your address and I'll get them in the mail to you Monday.  Thank you to all who participated!

Now for the glass debate.  I feel defiant!  Reckless!  Like a bra burner!  But I really like the way it looks.   .....   No.  Not without the bra, without the glass.  I took a few shots to show you how the experiment is going.  Of course you all know the difference in the appearance, but I wanted you to see how hidden my pieces were in my setting.

This is how I see them and if you look closely, you'll see that the glass is off one.  Here we go with it removed from this grouping.  I can't believe how the white goose stands out!  As I look at the wall now at dusk with lighting, fabulous.
 Now for two different samplers before and after.  Nice!  I never liked the frame on the bottom one and may change it to a small pillow.   My sister in law stitched it for me and had her framer pick the frame and mount it.  Not a good choice at all.

Now take a look at the inside of this one.
No back board and the metal clips right up against the linen.  Here's another of mine from the same folks.
Again no back board.  The taped piece was 25 years ago, and the one without the tape is newer and after the class action lawsuit was brought to them from a customer that found out they taped his work.  He contacted as many stitchers as possible to bring the lawsuit (I wasn't notified) and the judgment was to reframe and remount all the taped pieces.  Now the really bad one. 
This was taped, mounted on double boards, styrofoam back board, and shot with staples THROUGH my work.  The linen thread is broken in quite a few places and this was framed right to the border.  So I guess unless you know your framer well and trust them, you don't know what you'll find when you open the back.  I may work on the larger pieces in the dining room tomorrow but I need to finalize the kitchen (yes, the damn kitchen) drawings. I have the small wall on paper but I'm still having a hard time.  Moving the doorway is the sticking point in this tiny kitchen that you would think could only be laid out a few ways but NOOOooooo.  I had to come up with seven different layouts.   
I'll leave you with a picture of Bud, Nitwit's father.  I put a few boxes outside to see if they would get in and he picked the smallest.  He's in there all day, every day.  Unless Missy gets in first, then he pouts in the bigger box. 

Enjoy your weekend.  Stay safe.  Thank you for visiting.  I may have a surprise for you this coming week!

Aug 24, 2012

A sweet surprise

Hello all.  I received a package in the mail from a reader wanting to help me remove my errors without using duct tape!  She sent this darling little two pocket pouch with these perfect little tweezers, and this fabulous laying tool.   It's so smooth that I kept holding it and rubbing it like a worry stone!  Remember those?
Without a local shop, as many of us, I never saw these tools and she was gracious enough to write a little note with beautiful handwriting (yes!) about these tools being so helpful.  Thank you again Carole!  We meet some wonderful people blogging, don't we?   
I finally came up with some relief for my wrist.  See this swollen bump?  This entire side is killing me and radiates up the arm.  The brace they keep giving me immobilizes the thumb which is not helping one bit.  I need to stabilize the opposite side.  Long story short, I did my own thing and turned the brace around.  It worked.  I can't move the wrist to the left and that stopped the pain.  My thumb is now free and can bend to hold a piece of linen, and although wearing it backwards is not comfortable at all, it certainly helps.

  Now for another decision that I'm pondering.  Glass?  No glass?  My latest frame will come in with museum glass but after seeing another display of the product, it will still reflect my windows.  I had a talk with the local framer and we discussed the glass debate.  Many of her customers frame without, and the majority of the antique pieces she got in, never had glass.
I'm tired of seeing the curtains and windows instead of the samplers.  (And that old chandelier I need to sell.) That's Fanny taped over the reflection as a little test.  Then I removed the glass from a framed piece and really liked it.  Such a different mood and look!  Texture, no reflections, clarity.  I'm thinking.... what the heck?  I'll keep the glass, marking and wrapping each individually, and have the option of returning it to the frame if I change my mind.   I have many pieces that are cupboard tucks, little pillows, sewing bags, box lids.....I wasn't worried about them, and they would certainly get more dust than a vertical piece.  I can't picture Margaret's or Glenna's samplers without glass, and after all these years, I'm a little uncomfortable thinking that mine will look unfinished.  But I'll try it.  The framer recommends the canned air dusters be used every couple months and no direct sun, which wouldn't be a problem.  She also told me that the film collecting on the inside of the glass is actually off-gases from the styrofoam, certain mats, types of threads, even the unsealed wood edges. 

 I asked her for a discontinued frame sample that I could use to check my mounting margins.  Wasn't that a long overdue good idea?  What a great help this will be.  Next visit I will ask for a straight piece she has no use for to help with long edges.

One more thing.  I happened to notice my followers have reached 400.  May not stay at that number because I lose a few every once in a while.  But thank you.  Really.  Thank you!   I have a lot of decisions to make this weekend.  One of them will be whether I should have another thank you offer.  Of what?  Hmmm.
I'll be back tomorrow after drawing a name for the charts.  I see that some of you are interested in one design but I originally stated that they are one offer so I'm sorry I can't separate them.
Thank you to all followers, new and old, and for everyone taking the time to visit.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate your interest.

Aug 20, 2012

A few Santa charts for you

Hi everyone.  Since I can't stitch right now, I thought I would go through charts to find a few projects to kit.  I came across some older Christmas designs that I know I will never stitch and wondered if someone would be interested.  Leave your name on this post and if more than one are interested, I will draw a name this Saturday. 
 All five are one offer.

Merry Old Santa
Leisure Arts

Debbie Mumm
Country Noel

Susan Fouts
Homespun Holiday
Perforated paper or fabric

The Jolly Company

Homespun Sampler
Angels Among Us
Perforated paper and fabric

That's all for now!
Leave your name if you're interested and have a great week.


Aug 19, 2012

Lydia's finale and Wool

Hiya.  How is everyone enjoying the weekend?  I'm freezing and needless to say, not happy.  I'm slowly organizing and trying to get finished pieces in permanent places.  My husband still thinks Fanny Erb should be on the basket, but I have her mounted and ready to go.  France F (in the header photo) will not be moved, but Lucy will definitely be framed,  Fanny is now up in the air.  Maybe if I hemstitch her edges or line her it would change my mind. 

The pouch finish I had for Lydia just wasn't coming to me and fabric is difficult to find for DMC color 3021, so she ended up as a small pillow and I'm OK with that.  Easy to move her around.

Just in case I decide to frame her later, I didn't trim the linen, and with its heft, didn't need interfacing.  Whenever I do this, I use Craft Fleece (not batting) like this.
To compensate for the excess seam allowance bulk, I lay a piece of this against the back of the stitched piece, and fold the fabric over it.  It just helps a little with concealing.  Before I do this, I press the excess to the center and fold the corners over one another.  Once turned, I stick my hand in and make sure the folds are flat.

To prevent the batting from grabbing on to the fleece and moving it when inserting, I lay a sheet of paper over it, slide the batting in, and then pull the paper out.  Once again, showing you things you already know.  And yes,  I glued her shut!  I'm loving this glue method.  I don't know if other fabric glues are as easy to use as Liquid Stitch, but it's very tacky and doesn't take but 30 seconds of holding for it to grab, yet you can pull open and adjust for several minutes.  Only a tiny line is needed and I sometimes use an artist brush or Q-tip.  Now for Wool. 
I finally found the misplaced chart, stitched, and sewed.  This linen is also very stiff and no interfacing was needed.  Tough color to match so I used a black with brown print.  The ivory threads were Medici wool, and I changed the stars on the right to 642 and a gold that I dyed.  Just wanted a little color and saw gold as a good choice. 

I plan on doing the companion chart but haven't decided which linen, and whether I will use the black or gray Medici instead of floss.

When I trim a seam allowance and clip the corners, I always add Fray Check to the inside as a precaution.  I've made too many mistakes when sewing and don't want to worry about a corner raveling if I need to remove machine stitches. 

I used the thickest batting, which I always bevel cut so it doesn't bunch, and those excess cuttings are stuffed into corners.  I sometimes add a much smaller piece to the back, which pulls up the backing fabric so I don't have it showing at the seam.  Doesn't always work on softer pieces but this baby is stiff. 
I haven't been reading too many blogs recently, and need to apologize for not replying to comments.  Something happened to my left wrist a week ago and my store bought brace with Advil, isn't helping.  It's getting worse and typing is very painful, as is holding a piece of fabric to stitch.  To be honest, anything I do is painful!  I'm starting to get shooting pains even when it's stationary so I need to lay off everything for a week and use the bigger brace - another reason I tried to get these projects done now.  Doc appointment isn't for a week.  Maybe this down time will help me make a decision on the kitchen which is narrowed down to two choices.  I prefer one for layout, but am not happy with the doorway having to be in a bad position in the adjoining room.  So anyway, I'll be back next weekend or maybe sooner.  Have a great week - stay safe - thank you so much for visiting with me!

Aug 17, 2012

A light of a different color

I was at Hobby Lobby picking out a frame (again) and decided on a very wide pumpkin color with black veining for Eunice.  Quite a departure from the black profile I had planned.  I fell in love with it and hope it will look spectacular.  I really like the wider frames with small pieces but Eunice isn't that small so we'll have to wait and see.  Unfortunately, they order frames on Tuesday and the delivery is Friday afternoon so I won't see it until the 28th.  Fanny and Lucy will be framed locally because their selection is not stellar and I couldn't find a wood tone that made me dance.  I checked into the museum glass since all my samplers reflect curtains, windows, and anything else BUT the stitching.  It looked great, until I looked sideways.  I saw the ceiling lights and the paper on the counter reflecting.  Straight ahead - beautiful!  Side, not much different than the regular and that is the angle of the sampler wall.  I can change that order and may since it's a smaller sampler, just to try it out.  If it works, (doubtful on that wall), I may change my old pieces, one by one.  You can use their 40% coupon on the museum glass.  But here's what shocked me.  Lucy came along for the ride (unmounted after her dryer incident) and as she lay on the counter, I couldn't believe what I saw.  I don't know if the photos will show it, since it isn't as noticeable in my home, but take a look at this.
Under their lighting, I noticed areas of the gold thread that were actually VERY green.    I tried to replicate the lighting at home but I'm not getting the shade as definitive as I saw it.  The DMC #420 skeins in my floss bag were both started, looked exactly the same, and I obviously was just pulling as I went.  Not a noticeable difference by eye, but certainly by light source.  Many areas started as gold and finished a greenish gold.  The framer noticed it right away.  You can see the initial M is green and the F beneath it gold.  I'm not changing anything within the body of the sampler but will certainly change the border.  You can see the left photo in natural light is perfectly fine!!  But under certain lights, huge difference!  Mark said since it looks the same in our home, leave it alone.  But who knows what kind of light bulb we will be forced to use in the future.  All fluorescent?  LED?  Halogen?  I'm not taking the chance, and if Lucy didn't tag along, I would never have known.  Lesson learned.  I have so many floss skeins started and some bags have 10 skeins in them, usually purchased at the same time, but this little episode will change that.  Here's two more.  You can see the MH is more greenish than the FH beneath it under flourescent, but not on the left.  Still doesn't show as prominently and from my testing, I think it's the fluorescent that changed it.   Halogen did not.

I'm anxious to get back to Pumroy and didn't think I showed you the Pearl Gray dip difference.  I used 1/8 tsp. in a cup of hot water and added a few crystals more as I went along.  Better to start with less and keep it dipped longer.  The very bright yellow turned a greenish shade so I will sub that one.  Still not sure which will work, be dipped again, or subbed.
Here's a photo of them on white background next to the original color.
I wasn't happy with the 1871 pin pillow - just too nice and neat.  So I spilled coffee on it, dabbed it with the wet grounds, scrunched it in my hand to wrinkle, and GG Patti - if you would like it - it's yours.    There I go again.  Giving you a stomach ache hearing this?   Yes I'm a little rough with some things but that's my style!  I have two tables from my mom (Italian provincial I think) with marble inlays and I can't handle it!!  Give me a beat up piece of old wood.
Thank you for your concern over my gums and pain.  Handling it just fine!  Summer ending hurts a lot more.  About the heart box and tray - heart weighs 2# and tray is almost 4# from zip code 16159.  If you're interested in purchasing, just go to USPS to get an idea of the rate for the package weight to your location.
That about wraps up this episode of what the hell is she doing now.  Sorry I made some of you cringe at Lucy in the dryer.  Have a wonderful and safe weekend!
Thank you for taking the time to visit and I'll talk to you soon. 

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