Oct 31, 2012

Sampler Pear III

Hi everyone.  I may be outside burning linen, charts, and threads tomorrow if things don't improve, so I thought I should post the new month's pear now.  The chart to print is at the bottom of this post and if you don't want to read more of my mood ranting, just scroll down. 
I tried starting a sampler on three  four different pieces of linen and instead of having two rows completed, I don't even have two letters.  I am so disgusted.  The chart is shown on a darker gray/green linen and I dyed several pieces which looked perfect with the light floss colors.  But I can't stitch! 
 One linen is so thick and goofy, I can't even get a needle through easily.  What is this crap?  Look at those thick threads.  I have thinner fringe on my knitted scarf.  I can barely see the thin ones and this yard is gone.  I'm in no mood.  The other three linens are also perfect colors, but I'm having so much trouble. Two are similar and have a weave with very fine threads which are difficult for me to see clearly on a dark fabric.  I'm messing up every few stitches.  Another piece has that honeycomb look to the weave that I have trouble with. They're also too limp, fine, and not what I like to stitch on.  I like heavier, substantial fibers, with an easily recognizable weave.  I don't want to search for that barely seen thread.  It should be enjoyable, not work, not frustrating.  Tomorrow morning, I'm pulling my rough stuff and dyeing a piece and ridding the rest.  No looking back! 
So here's my lastest method on dyeing.  I blend several colors to get a nice shade and instead of it going down the drain, I put it in these wide mouth plastic jars.  So now I just drop in the piece, and shake it.  I even have a few that are just one color.  I store them in a plastic tray and they are ready whenever I need to dip.  So much easier. 
I happened to see this little angel while browsing Mosey 'n Me and thought it was adorable.  I could probably fish those stars out of the trash that I threw them in yesterday!!

And here's the boys coming in for a sip of cream. 

Sorry I'm still bitching.  This mood is a doozie and lasting longer than most.  My wireless printer still isn't working properly with the new router, and neither are the two computers which doesn't help.  My box order is coming in Friday - hope it's a bright spot to end the week on.
Thank you for putting up with my menopausal rants and taking the time to visit.  Still hoping all those affected by Sandy are getting help for their difficult situations.  And here's the chart -

Oct 30, 2012

New charts

Hello there.  My Essamplaire order came in!   So here they are - all small to medium, more colorful, most with borders.  My last order from Homespun Samplar contained simpler marking samplers with a few exceptions.  This order is a little different.  When starting Eliza Pumroy, the very bright colors turned me off immediately and those are the threads I dipped into a touch of Pearl Gray dye to tone down.  Well, true to form, I'm doing a 180.  Maybe bright on a darker linen isn't such a bad thing.  I will follow these new charts' recommended colors to have a few bright spots among my pieces.  Borders are not my cup of tea either and although I love the designs, do not like executing the stitches.  Small areas of different colors, stopping and starting, is what bothers me which is probably why I don't stitch motif samplers.  So what did I choose to order?  Designs with borders, just in case.  Changes have become a way of life and preferences, just like the kitchen layout, can't be set in stone.  In fact, I came up with another kitchen layout, completely opposite of all the others.  Glenna said "indecision = paralysis" and it is so true.  Kitchen, paint colors, samplers, fabrics, siding, windows, you name it.  Time flies by and nothing is accomplished.  On to the stash.

And the final chart is not what I ordered, and not to my liking.
I may browse again today and reorder my original choice if I find a few more.  I dyed linen this morning (for the above Betsy Gill) and will show you a few things about that and also post the third pear chart in upcoming posts. 
 Going through the linens I realized that most are unbleached and too gray for me.  Remember this photo of my inventory showing the differences yet they are all unbleached, raw or natural?  I see more bleaching and dyeing in the future, even though I said I was done.  I don't think I have a choice.    
 That's all I used in the early days but prefer the softer tan of the right side or even the center piece.  Belfast's tan is nice but I prefer 28 or 30 count, not 32.
So I'm pitching again.  I gave away basic charts and threads, and selling for 99¢ on Ebay is a waste.  Paypal takes 30¢ per transaction plus a % and there's the selling fee to Ebay so it's really not worth it.  Buttons and charms are already in the trash along with some threads that I will just never use.  I'm getting down to the bare bones and that's fine with me.  Too many things taking up space and adding to choices = indecision = paralysis.  That's all for this post.  Just show and tell.  Well ..... show and gripe. 
Prayers for everyone in Sandy's path.



Oct 29, 2012

Going stag

Hello people.  The storm is bearing down and I sure hope you are all safe.  Sandy is a real monster isn't she?  Geez.  I wonder how nasty Hurricane Marly would be.  Let's hope she never materializes.  So you figured I would be starting a sampler or a santa but instead, a stag. 

This little free chart is courtesy of Helga Mandl designs and you can find the chart here.  It is a pdf file and if you can't view it, try her website here and click on freebies.  Ain't it sweet?  Of course I changed the colors around and didn't use the blue in the border.  I also had a problem with the needle I was using (which was found in the ironing board so I have no idea what it is).  I mentioned before that I am a knotty girl and my first stitch is no exception.  I have always used the loop to begin. This needle was so sharp it actually split the loop's thread on the backside.

When pulling to complete a stitch, the thread would come out of the eye, which never happened before, and also allowed one thread to be lax.  I wish I knew who the manufacturer was but most all my needles are a mystery. 

  Months ago I also mentioned that I turned the design upside down to make it easier in some areas and received a few emails on that topic.  Here is the photo showing it both ways.  I stitch bottom left to top right first, and you can see it is the same either way.  This really helps me on long samplers so the bulk of the fabric stays at the bottom.  If I remember to turn the chart upside down, it works perfectly.
Lots of emails on studding pears so I took a few photos. This spacing will allow shrinkage without pushing the cloves out. 

You can see how messy this is with the juice - make sure your dry cloves are not close to the sticky pear juice and keep a paper towel beneath.  For one Bosc pear of decent size, I used a little over 3 ounces of cloves, using only the largest pieces with heads.  Use the others for the bottom area which isn't seen.  Eventually, some of the heads will fall either now or later and it really can't be helped.  The second photo is next day, and you can see the juice is still coming.  You can have a liner to catch the drippings, and I have also used the open weave cupboard liners to set them on.  They will become very mushy so try not to handle them for a while.
I'm still having problems but some comments are getting through.  I need to have a computer geek come over and straighten all this stuff out for me.  I had a question in the comments about the black border on my photos and since you are no-reply, I'll answer here.
If I remember correctly!
Go to Template, click on each of these - Template Designer, Advanced, Images, Border color (choose black), Background (choose black).  Check to see if that's it in the preview.  If it's not what you wanted, do not click Save and nothing will change.
Need to start dinner and make a Better-than-Sex cake for my brother to take to work for his last day.  I use a very large rectangular roasting pan for two box cakes instead of purchasing a sheet cake.  Same size, homemade, and cheaper!
Stay safe and thank you for visiting!

Oct 28, 2012

Is it life, or menopause?

Greetings.  Sorry if this isn't a happy I'm-such-a-sweet-gal post.  I'm not.  I used to be in my younger years.... wait ..... no I wasn't.  In my middle years......well, no, not then either.  Anyway, am I the only one getting a message that an error occurred trying to save the post with an option to ignore this warning?  This is constantly.  And after typing a comment on blogs, I click the publish button and a box appears telling me that navigating from the page will not save content.  So I click cancel and my comment disappears. Very few of my comments are going through. Am I just being aggravated by a gremlin in the computer, revenge for calling it the "old" one?  Or are you guys having problems too?  My new router is going off and on, shutting down pages, yet I'm connected.  I still can't open my mouth enough to eat normal food.  The only size insertable is the flat little Dove single, a mini Mounds bar, or any other flat meltable.   The antibiotics are giving me the seated cha-cha, if you know what I mean.  The woodpeckers are ignoring my screaming and pounding.  So is all of this contributing to the current bitchdom?  I think not.  All of the above are minor annoyances and shouldn't be causing the fierce feeling of wanting to throw, set on fire, or tear into pieces, any object in my path.  The flashes were becoming less intense and less often, which may be the reason.  Through all the years of dealing with this disease (yes, it should be classed as such), I have found that if the mood altering nasties do not come out in those delicate beads of moisture that drench my clothes, they are trapped inside and will work their way to the top trying to escape.  Therefore, the brain is inundated with the nasties and the only way out is through the yapping mouth, the fiery eyes, and the steam releasing through the ears.  In other words, you do not want to be the person that accidentally bumps me with your buggy in a store.  Enough said.
I'm looking at new samplers but can't decide what to start, let alone which linen color.  Don't know if a slump is beginning or if bitchdom is the cause.  Why am I not stitching Santas if I need a break from samplers?  You know the answer - I can't find them.  I chose two Prairie Schooler leaflets and had them set aside a few months ago but can't remember where.   As I was going through the samplers, I came across a few I will never stitch, one of which is Frances Eden.  So I checked EBay to see what the chart is going for.  Are you ready?  One sold 10/13 for $15 and another sold on 10/20 for $81.  That's right.  $81.00.  A week apart!   
This little guy has held on through all the stash reductions (not sure why) and I'm thinking of using a dark brown wool or fuzzy thread. (The "warning" has come up with every sentence so far - hoping I don't throw this laptop out the window before I'm finished). 
 I could also start a different Schooler leaflet until I find the others.  I had a giveaway of several Schooler Santas but those were extras, so I know they are here somewhere.  Lydia Hinckley is a quick project that I could stitch again since I really like that simple little marking sampler.   Hannah Way is missing too and when I find her, she will be done without her specialty stitches. Ann Greanawalt? Or maybe just start stitching and see what happens since I need to work up designs for new labels.  That reminds me - I found boxes and placed a large order although they won't be in for two weeks and I'm hoping they are decent quality.  There was a new size that I haven't seen here and I think it will be great.  It's the 6" oval which is the bottom box of the set, but it's tall.  Anxious to see it!  So maybe that's what I should be doing.  Whatever - I'll decide on something today. 
It's been raining for two days and the cats are driving me nuts.  They come in the house when I open the door, but panic if I shut it.  Two of the three run from me and will definitely draw blood.  Their houses are comfy and dry (styrofoam coolers) and they each have their own, yet Bud is cramped.  His adult son, Nitwit (Nitzy for short) insists on crawling inside and being with his dad, so Bud is usually hanging out.  I have Plexiglass sheets over each opening to keep rain from entering. 

That's it, I'm done.  Time to stud some pears and tidy the mess I made searching for charts.  For those of you in the path of Sandy, I hope it's not as bad as predicted.
Thank you for visiting and reading this whiny post.
Stay safe and stitch bitchy.


Oct 26, 2012

Pear finish and playing with pumpkins

Hello everyone!  What a beautiful day yesterday!  Very warm and sunny and wonderful.  Today is similar but the forecast is not good.  I had my first round of leg injections yesterday, finished my pear, and played with pumpkins.  Remember the flowers in my galvanized tub?  I decided to fill a few with pumpkins around the swings. 

 I still hate fall. 
I finished the pear yesterday and wanted to show you how I did the template for the shape.  This one is larger than the last design and needed another template for backing.  Here's what I do - even though you already know!
I either use a pin to outline the shape onto a paper beneath, or my fingernail or a stylus to transfer a crease.  I only do one side and then fold the paper to cut so that each side is the exact same.   
Holding it up to the light allows me to check the shape and also center the interfacing before fusing.

I'll say it again, these envelopes to hold interfacing with the instructions clearly shown, have been the biggest help for all my sewing.

 After sewing, I use soft sculpture needles to move the stuffing to the areas that need adjusting, and especially the closure.  The needles are really strong and work well.  I know - you know this.

I didn't use the Mylar since this size is standing nicely with just the interfacing on the linen. 
 So here's the new design that I will post for you the beginning of November.  I sure hope I can do one each month, and not run out of ideas.  I've already thought of the next two, but not sure how they will look since they are completely different than this style.   My friend thinks they are good enough to sell! 

And a few photos of the kits having a snooze in the sun.  Shameless, aren't they? 
I better get out there are get those leaves blown since it's clouding up quickly.   I didn't receive my new charts yet so I'm picking something from stash later today to start stitching.  Have a wonderful weekend - thank you for visiting!
Stay safe and stitch happy!


Oct 24, 2012


Greetings!  I doubt if anyone is making the roast with quick gravy today,  but wanted to let you know that I forgot to add the 1 tsp. of  Paprika that also goes in the wine.  I changed the copy and am listing the corrected version.  Blogger used to allow a post to publish new after editing and changing back to draft, but it isn't working so I thought I better do another post, just in case.  For those of you that aren't crazy about mushrooms, they are not noticed at all in the soup or gravy.  Really.  And - I found another spot for Mary Oldfield.  I guess I have to explore every possibility, don't I?  She's back on the cupboard but I really like this option for a change.
Thank you all for the well wishes, surgery went fine.  He did upper and lower this time. My ice bag is ready and I'll be stitching for a while after I blow the leaves.  Again.
Here's the correct recipe.  Talk to you soon.

Dinner with gravy and pears for dessert - EDIT

Hello all.  Just wanted to show a few pears, a pear preview, and the recipes I mentioned.  I put the recipes in a jpg format so you can right click to save or print. 
Edited -Sorry!  I forgot the 1 tsp Paprika in the wine for the last recipe.  Copy is corrected.
 First off, Ariane from Les Petites Croix D'Ariane sent me this photo of her pear. She attached a charm to the top and hung it with ribbon - so sweet! And I pulled open my glued seam of the first pear with a little tug and re-seamed (new word) with additional stuffing. The finishing of Anneke (My Pretty Corner) that I showed in a prior post is what I tried to mimic but it's not quite as nice as hers, but better than I had originally sewn.

And this is a preview of what's coming the beginning of November.  Oh did that hurt.  November.  What the heck happened to October?  Or September?  The winter months better fly by as fast.

I'm waiting for my 8 new charts from Essamplaire and hoping they arrive in a few days.  I would have started a new project if it weren't for my changes to the pear.  Just like my kitchen design, I keep coming up with another layout or different color.  This one is the final, and of course, what I wanted in the beginning. 

The real pears are in need of cloves and starting to shrivel a bit so I better get to them tonight.  I've been asked quite a bit about making the dried studded pears and this is it.  Simple.  Bosc pears are all I've ever used, whole cloves, and leave a space between for shrinkage, usually a little less than the size of another clove.  Set them on wooden skewers in a plastic something-or-other and check every few days.  As they start to shrink, they become soft and you can sort of form them to shape, including flattening the bottom to sit properly.  At the same time, press in any cloves that are coming out.  It takes a while to dry completely so don't expect this to happen in a week or two.
Here's the two easy gravy recipes.  I've used a roast instead of the short ribs, but shorts are best.  Made the night before, you can put the liquid in the fridge overnight and remove all the congealed fat the next day.  If it doesn't work to click on the photos to print, I'll try again later.

   That's it boys and girls!   Gum surgery on the other side tomorrow so I'm packing my mouth with goodies tonight.  Hope you all have a great day. 
Welcome to new followers - thank you to all for visiting. 
Stay safe and stitch happy!

Oct 21, 2012

Berries for boxes and floss storage

Greetings to you.  Leaves are falling and I enjoy the workout of pushing that heavy leaf blower, but need Advil for my leg after.  Lots of appointments for the next few weeks to complete injections on the right one, and the laser surgery on the left.  Other people have so much more to deal with in both time and pain, that my situation is nothing more than an inconvenience.  Our married friend passed away several months ago and now his 37 year old son died.  To deal with losing a husband is enough grief, and to add the loss of a son is inconceivable.  She certainly could use a few prayers sent her way. 
Still no boxes!  Not even the tall single rounds!  I'm playing with what I have here and tried this idea on the small rounds.  I had planned on attaching pincushion tops and berries to a few boxes for something different so maybe I should get busy on that now.  I could use up the odd sizes while waiting for the shipment.  My question - do I leave the strawberry unattached or glue to the lid?  Is one enough, or two?  I think one is better.  I worked for days on these antique snippets and sure hope I get the boxes to put them on!   There's no way to get perfect clarity on the antiques, but they're pretty good. 

 I have Sampler Pear III done but need to stitch it.  When choosing the floss, I encountered my usual problem.  Look at these two. 

Now I certainly don't fault DMC for this since my floss goes back 20 years or more.  But what a difference it would make if I charted my old shades and someone used the current. 
This is my floss box - and yes, it is actually a cardboard box!   It's the template so to speak, of the wood one I plan on making.  I keep it in the bottom of my stitch hutch.  But I also have a bag of the complete set of the older DMC that I was to sell on EBay (decided not to) and another system that has new and old.  It's my warehouse.  When I can't find a skein that may be ????? , I go to these business envelope boxes kept in a wicker bin.  Clearly marked and I really like this envelope storage for extras.
I plan on posting the two easy recipes for beef and gravy this week.  SO good and SO easy.  I made this Pepper Butter with the Hungarian wax peppers we had left from the garden and it is one of my favorite condiments.  Spread on a sandwich, with chicken, kielbasa, good bread, you name it.  Fabulous. 
So that's it for now.  Instead of running out to squirt the woodpeckers (the original angry birds game), I am pounding on the windows and sure hope I don't experience a hot flash while doing so.  Replacement glass is very expensive and I finally have the left wrist's brace off - certainly don't need restriction on the right from pounding damage.  The wrist is still swollen, but one day I was putting on pants without the brace (I didn't sleep with it) and twisted it the wrong way.  I heard and felt the outside joint snapping before, but this one was huge, and it helped a great deal.  On the mend now!
Thank you so much for visiting - hope your weekend was great. 
Welcome to new followers!
Stay safe and stitch happy.
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