Sep 30, 2013

Chessie & Me trio

Greetings.  Tomorrow is October.  ?????  Where is the time going?

A quick post to show a few small samplers from Chessie and Me.
The first is my current project, Harriot Simpson, a reproduction from 1777.  The original was stitched on 54 count and much of it over one thread.  It's reproduced on 36 count, over two, and is less than 4" x 5" when completed.  On the cover, some of the stitching is not seen because of thread color which I've changed.
The same is true of my second chart, H. Kessel's reproduction.  I didn't like the looks of either until I realized that those blank areas are actually stitched.  You can see on the chart that the entire line is filled with name and motifs.  This is from 1858, is German, similar in size (82 x 91) to Harriot (83 x 66).
The last one is the Scottish Initial Sampler and one on my favorites that I've already stitched.  So small, and I like it so much I didn't even mind the top row's over one.

So there's three very small reproductions, no specialty stitches, great for trying out a new linen count or thread.  They're all OLD, and I can't say if they are all still available.  I recently found her lovely blog, Chessie and Me.
Two more things.  I love redskin potatoes and this recipe is one of my favorites.  Melt several tablespoons of butter to coat the glass dish, cut potatoes in half and dip cut side in the butter, then in grated Parmesan (remove excess), place cut side down. 400 degrees for 40 -45 minutes.
The king was sitting in his throne yesterday while the jester was planning an adventure.
Have a great week!
Thanks for visiting.

Sep 29, 2013

Brooms and beans

Hello people.  Just a quick show and tell post.  I tried making a little primitive broom and love the way it turned out. 
 After cutting a straight branch while stink bugs tried to set up a condo in my hair, and tripping over roots and vines while retrieving corn husks that were discarded in the woods,  I bleached, dried, and wired it all together.  Drilled a hole, added a leather lace, and here they are.  Much too small for me to ride but I have others for that.  

I will hang them from a peg rack with all the dried garlands in the new room.  One day sometime possibly perhaps in the near distant future. Or maybe the side of a cupboard.

The yellow wax beans that I dried did not do as well as the greens.  They are still drying and shrinking much more than the others, and taking MUCH longer to do so.


I chose a new project the same way I usually do.  Whatever strikes me at a particular moment for no particular reason, that's it.  I found a tiny reproduction sampler from Chessie and Me under the sofa in my mess room and felt sorry for it.  Like all the big boy samplers kicked her out and she hid.  It's my first attempt on 35/36 count.  I have to say - no problem!!  I'm so surprised that it's not difficult, but I'm sure other linens may be different. I'll work on it more today and show you next time.  VERY small.  Perfect for trying a new count or thread.
  Enjoy your day and stay safe.
Thanks for visiting.


Sep 28, 2013

DMC linen

Happy Saturday.  Hope the weekend will be a good one for you.  I am one of those people that get stuck and dwell on an emotional issue so mine will be quiet and uneventful.  It started off with a misstep that created a dark blue toenail which I will certainly lose.  Not my favorite color, but nothing to complain about.
I wanted to show you the DMC Charles Craft linen I ordered through Wal-mart.  It is less stiff than my older pieces, has a little sheen, but for the price, perfect for little ornaments that I will step on, douse with coffee, and politely "age".  Here's a look along with a few other pieces of Antique Tan and Tea-dyed 28 counts.  The large piece is the Charles Craft.  I just checked to see if they changed the price, and they did - again.  First it was $13.55, then $10.56, then $9.83, and now back to $13.55.  I guess if you want a piece (20x24), you should check daily and order on a low price day!  No shipping charge either with Site to Store.
My BOAF boys were done on Charles Craft tea-dyed linen.
Mark didn't want to wait any longer for a painter so he got the room primed and ready for him.  Good thing.  I hate it.  We had it tinted to match the paint color that is fabulous in my friend's house, and sucks lemons in mine.  My old color is Benjamin Moore's #974 and it is not gray, not beige, not yellow, pink, or green.  Very neutral in my home and I will probably go back to it.  I'm glad he primed it, otherwise, I wouldn't have the opportunity to change it.  Choosing paint drives me nuts. 
As for stitching, I was considering Scarlet Letter's Sally Fiske or Lora Turner, R&R's Rebecca Waverly, and Essamplaire's Mary Margaret Mallet.  The two SL's were recently pinned by someone I follow on Pinterest, so that coincidence made me think it should be one of the two.  But usually, something draws me to a completely different design last minute.
I did get my box ready for Midnight Ride and decided to keep the natural wood by sealing it rather than painting.  I didn't order the chart yet because I would like to browse other designs to include in the order.  The eye dancing is getting better so I should be able to stay on the computer a little longer this weekend.

No matter how I try - even lifting him and setting him down on the correct side, this little nitwit still prefers his own position.

I happened to see these items on Ebay and thought they were cute.
Meadowbrooke Gourds has the nicest cut gourds for fall and halloween.  I always enjoy visiting their site.

I'm done.  We've had several sunny days and I think today, I will spend some time on the swing enjoying the warmth.
Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.
Thanks for visiting!

Sep 27, 2013

Pumpkins for Cathey

Today is Pumpkins for Cathey day in honor of her blogaversary, and we want her to know she is in our thoughts and prayers. 

 Read more about it on Daffy Cat's blog
Cathey's blog, Pumpkin Patch and Co. is here


Sep 24, 2013

The 6" round box redo

Hiya.  The sun is out but it is really cold.  But I'm starting to feel better - can't have everything.  I can sit without the face pounding, but not bend, so the house is still a mess.  When I can't do much but lie around, I think of food.  So today I'm making honey-oatmeal bread, Peach Dream, and maybe elderberry pie.  Too bad I can't smell them baking.
About that box - you know - the fabulous 6" that is made for the new BBD designs?  I may do only one of those designs, so I don't feel the expense is worth it for me.  My cupboard still has wood shakers from years ago for my Santa painting and I haven't found any more since.   My paints are gone, but at this time of year, I get an urge.
I have more ovals than rounds left, but the rounds happen to be 6".   One top was cracking so I filled and sanded, still wasn't happy.  I didn't have a problem possibly ruining it so I gave it a go.  Using a new blade in a utility knife, I took my time and scored at the seam where the top meets the band, inside and outside. 
A few whacks with a tack hammer and it came out.  I didn't realize it was this thick.  The box that you can purchase may have a taller band on the lid to allow for the stitchery but this standard band is still high enough for a lip to sit on the box, and also recess the top.
Now push it back into the center of the band. The unfinished wood will be the inside of the lid, and the painted top side will be covered.  I may cut a piece of luan (much thinner) to use instead of this thicker plywood.  That would make the band's lip a little longer for sitting on the box.
Using that same piece is making a very tight fit, and whatever wood I use will be glued to the band.  Foam board will be too thick so mat board will be my mounting choice for the stitchery.

Now for the paper mache 6".  I have one, they come in sets of 4, 5, and 6 and are more readily available at craft stores.  I would think it would be easier to cut using the same method.  The band's cut edge can be smeared with glue to smooth and secure the cut paper edge.  That piece should fit inside, held with glue and work the same as my wood one.  All you really need is a slight recess for the mounting board's edge to sit inside and the stitchery can be puffed as high as you want, or even with the band. 
It's not as nice as the companion box for their designs, but I may never even get around to the stitching for it so this will be good enough for now.  I love their angel designs and their box really is fabulous.  I found several charts that I liked - never saw before - here.  But if you stitch more than one Christmas or angel design, you need more than one box.  I have tried to get to their site and see their wares (Lone Elm Lane) and the site takes forever to open.  Be very patient! 
Now it's time for the heat pack and aspirin.  Looking down at the screen was just enough of a tilt to make my eyes dance to my heartbeat.
Have a fabulous and safe day.
Added note - I've had emails about where to find Thankful.  You can send a request for any R&R chart, (even old ones), to  for information about ordering.
And if you ordered the 20 x 24 piece of Charles Craft tea dyed linen from Wal-mart, it's now $9.83.  Email for a price adjustment.  It started at $13.55, then $10.56 yesterday, and they seem to change the price daily!


Sep 23, 2013

Interview with a stitcher part 2


I'll start off by saying I'm completed and glad the process of bringing me to life is over. I've been frustrated, sad, lonely, and hot, and have a few questions for you if you don't mind.
Give it your best shot Ms. Davis. Keep in mind, I have control of the keyboard, and the lighter.
This took longer than expected. Was it because of the work being done in your home?
Well, partly. I am a procrastinator.
From Virginia? Related to Harvey Procrastinator?
Let's start at the beginning. My original piece was stitched using one, two, and four threads. From the start, you chose to ignore this and use two strands throughout. Explain?
Sure. I don't pay enough attention to the chart's details when stitching and would end up having to go back for corrections. I would ask you - why weren't you consistent? I think my way was better.
The color changes you made were primarily because of the linen color, right? I see no fault in adjusting shades that would otherwise fade into the fabric. I'm sure my linen was not the same color as yours.
Yes you're correct. The trouble came because I failed to note what those changes were, but with the randomness, it wasn't an issue.

My satin stitch was troublesome for you, yet it's a simple stitch. What was the problem?
Good question. My stitches are always pulled and tension is hard to get right. But the placement gave me fits this time and I can't explain why. I saved it for the end, following a repeat that I could remember.
But you forgot to change color on the last several sawtooths.
I told you I don't pay close attention to the chart.  And why would you change the last three?
And you changed one satin stitch band to two rows of cross.
Guilty. Move on.
And you didn't feel that I deserved to be covered or protected when you weren't around?
If I would put my stitching in a bag, folder, or basket, I would search for hours trying to remember where it is.
But don't you think that there is history in recreating a piece done by a young girl so long ago and should be treated with respect?
Well......I never thought of it that way. But it's just me with some linen and threads! I rarely follow the chart exactly and it's YOUR piece that's important, not my copy. You didn't care enough to correct simple errors, your flowers ran into bands, you changed the bottom border which I didn't see until too late, misaligned your letters, so get off your tuffet.
Do you have any regrets about leaving me outside on your swing, completely forgotten until late at night when it was dark and cold?
I've put up with the flameless fire emanating from your body, the heavy neck pack being thrown on me, that fat black cat sitting on me, close calls with chocolate smeared fingers, and hearing words that we NEVER used back in my day. I know I'm a "piece of fabric and some threads" to you, but can I be treated with some dignity? I worked hard and tried my best to create this, I'm part of a historical society, and many hours were involved in bringing my work to you.
Now you will stick pins in me and hang me from a wall, bare naked. When this you see, remember me, and the way I've been treated. I hope you get pleasure from what I will add to your home, and realize that that alone, should be reason enough to be treated with a little respect.
I'm sorry. ......wait.....
You almost had me! I know you are right and many stitchers take pride in needlework history. But I can't stop my hot flashes from affecting you, the place I set you down and forget, what the fat cat does, where my heat pack ends up when I whip it off, the amount of chocolate on my fingers, and the fact that I can't afford to dress you in finery (or prefer nakedness). I thank you for your work and those involved with bringing it to me, and appreciate the opportunity to have it in my home. But if I became a responsible stitcher, I may not enjoy it any longer. My mind is not as sharp as it once was, and will overlook some details, forget other things, and fail to have the attention and patience necessary.
OK. I understand a little better now. I am flattered that you like my design and chose it over so many others. I should be happy that my name and work will hang in your home, and not be so rigid in how it got there. Fact is, I could have been just as reckless with my linen when creating this, and I made many errors that could have been easily corrected, but I chose to be as informal as you were.   Friends?
Are you going to put those little hairs on the other three sides of my border?
Yes dear, when my face quits pounding.
You look bad. Still sick?
Very. I think a few days of rest is in order. And when I feel better, I'll show off my revamped 6" box that will hold Midnight Ride. And my dried yellow beans.
Thank you Thankful Davis.  We are more alike than you would think.

Sep 22, 2013

Interview with a stitcher

First, why do you think working with a needle is such a pleasure for so many?

I thought these questions were to be fairly straight forward, no philosophy, interpretations, theories, or speculations. Just the facts, ma'am. That being said, I can only speak for myself. Choosing a linen, changing threads, losing scissors, removing's frustrating! But I continue and get excited with each new project. I believe it's the aesthetics of the completed piece, more than it is the production. For me anyway. If I see a design that I really like, but can't imagine it in my space, I won't stitch it.

Are there certain elements that draw you to a design, or some that you avoid?

Yep. Elaborate borders are beautiful, but they make me feel overwhelmed. Small flowers and leaves consisting of a few stitches each and requiring numerous color changes - no. Can't handle it.   A simple sampler with all alphabet or mixed with motifs or scenes, is my preference, and less stitching stress. Most contain inaccuracies so a boner by me blends right in. 

Does cost ever preclude a project?

Sure. I'm cheap. If a design calls for expensive silks, I wouldn't follow it for two reasons. One, between the costs of linen, threads, and framing, I could buy an antique. Two, I don't like to see a beautiful sheen, I prefer matte. Blends in better with the dusty primitive style. I have no problem sticking with cotton floss, or hand dyeing a piece of linen.  I adore the Midnight Ride from BBD but will adapt rather than spend over $100 for the required box.

Have you burned any pieces recently?

No! I'm so proud. Lucy taught me a lesson, but I also think the mood swings are getting better. The anger after losing my dad, and the years of complete life changes taking care of mom, left me with pent-up emotions that refused reasoning. When I watched a difficult project be consumed by flames, I had mixed emotions, but still felt better. I was in control for once. 

Do you join the clubs that send new projects through the year?

No I don't. Reason is what I said previously. Although I may love the design, I may not stitch it so it would be a waste of money. The new Bittersweet Autumn offered by the Ladies Prim Society I LOVE. LOVE! That one I would definitely stitch.

Who are your favorite designers?

Too hard to choose, but my stash says R&R Reproductions, Scarlet Letter, Stacy Nash, Threadwork Primitives, Country Rustic, Pineberry Lane, along with reproductions from various merchants. Can we count R&R and SL since they are reproductions, not new designs? I am amazed at the amount of work involved in charting an exact reproduction.

Do you follow all the instructions to make it authentic?

Nope. I feel guilty after seeing how much work was involved in charting the piece, but I change things as I go, use two threads throughout, include my own errors without correction, and don't feel it's important to me as it may be to other stitchers. Actually, no one has ever done more than glance at them on the wall. My family and friends don't get my style, and after years of asking "is this stained", they've given up. Most think a sampler is what Whitman's puts out at Christmas.

What is your favorite cloth to stitch on?

I have Scarlet Letter's unbleached yardage from 20 years ago and still use it, preferring the coarse and stiffer cloth. At that time, there was also a tube of 15x18 linen from Charles Craft in tea dyed and natural, which is no longer around, but I have a decent stash since I stocked up during sales. 
Their "linen" now is not actually linen, but a blend. BUT. I just Googled to see if the original is available once again and found it - Wal-Mart online. 20x24 size tea dyed 100% linen so I ordered two even though I don't need them ($13.55 each!) and will have them this week. It's coarse, but not real stiff. I hope it's the same because I loved the soft brown and used it quite a bit for Christmas ornaments. Friends have been generous and sent me pieces of various counts, colors, and companies, and it's such a treat to have something other than my usual. Their thoughtfulness has also allowed me to order more of these new pieces since I could actually feel the texture and know the color.
How do you store your linens?
I have all the 15x18 pieces rolled in the tubes, and try to save the cardboard tubes from foil and wraps for storing others.  My linens were folded in the drawer for many years and some developed a faded mark on the fold line.  No the cardboard is not acid-free but neither am I when I'm handling it, and I really don't care about 100 years from now.  It's easy to make a roll without the tube also.
Are you concerned about using fabric glue or fill like polyester that contains chemicals?
No.  Linen is tough, has held up on samplers 100's of years old, and I would rather do what makes it easier and gives me the result I'm looking for.  I love the feel of sawdust stuffing and wood is highly acidic.  How long do you think it would take to ruin the muslin lining and get to the linen?  Don't care, but I'm sure I'll be gone or be tired of the piece before that happens.  It's a piece of fabric and some threads, not a being.
What are you working on now?

I'm completing Thankful Davis from R&R today and will begin the task of sorting through my mess to choose another. Santas are still in hiding.

And why did you decide to do this interview?

I'm hopped up on cold meds and cough syrup and was talking to myself anyway.

Will you ever do this again?

Sure. Probably tomorrow. Thankful may guest host. It depends on how many little pills in that fricking unbreakable foil pack are left.

Well thank you for taking the time out of your la-la land day to talk with us, and thanks to all who took the time to read this snore.

Sep 20, 2013

A broken day

Hi.  It's late.  I have Frazier reruns in the background, while I listen to lids ping as they suck down, and a Jenn-Air high end dishwasher break down.  While making the pepper butter, my expensive rarely used Kitchen Aid blender died, so I brought out the Cuisinart processor and watched the plastic lock fall off right after the lid cracked.  And the bowl leaked.  Three items (one major $$) all breaking down while trying to puree a bunch of hot peppers.  Past warranty on all.  My HP laptops and printers usually wait until one month past warranty to fail so that will be coming soon too.
I was so busy today that I haven't had time to read blogs and although it was a brief glimpse, I see that I've been missing quite a lot on Pinterest too.  Too bad. 
Yesterday when Bud and I were sitting outside and doing a little stitching, I noticed that the gray threads where only in one area yet the symbol was throughout the piece.  Didn't I tell you that I learned my lesson (twice) about not having more than one skein in my floss bag during a project?  I didn't learn it well enough because it happened again.  3787.  One gray.  One taupe.  Two colors used for one symbol.  It was hard to stitch with someone taking up too much space.
Every time I ran into the house, he would patiently wait for my return.  Until the girlfriend showed up and he left me in his dust.
I also worked on boxes and as usual, can't decide which designs would be your choice.
So now, I'm tired, my jars have all pinged, three appliances have all died, the cats are outside, my Advil is waiting, lots of other boring crap happened and will continue tomorrow, so I will sink into bed and have a good sleep. 
And I bought a big fricking pumpkin.
Thanks for visiting.

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