Apr 28, 2016

What a difference

Both very nice, but I prefer a rough matte finish linen in darker shades. 18th Century Sea Glass which I can no longer find.  I remember using a light spray of reddish brown on this piece which is NOT what you do with hand dyed, but it was more green than my other piece.  I wanted to tone it down and can't tell you if it was a dye or walnut solution. So very close to the original Rook that I love. 
To tell the truth, I am still not enjoying this.
The Liberty boxes will go on sale Sunday May 1. 
April is ending.  Holy crap.  I vowed to have the house projects finished or under contract by spring and as usual, procrastination, indecisiveness, and lack of competent craftsmen have contributed to missing that goal.
Have a beautiful spring weekend!

Apr 23, 2016

The perilous purse

A furball with filthy paws checked out the green linen from the kit, and turned his back to it.  Shortly thereafter, that back was flying out of the room.  Will you look at those back feet!!
In another room, it seems his mother chose the dyed-by-me version and thought it was a comfortable pad to nap on.  A short time later she was napping on her sherpa in the garage. 
I chose the Sea Glass, free of cat hair.  I also chose not to grab them since the scratches have finally healed.
I haven't had a Kohl's episode of embarrassment in a while but made up for it today.  I changed from a small crossbody bag to a quite large one (of that slippery nylon) and that damn thing was sliding and circling my body like a hyped squirrel.  The bench in the footware department was taken so I opened a shoe box in the aisle, and as I started hopping on one foot while holding onto the shelves with the other, the squirrel purse slid to my front.  As I bent to put on the shoe, the looped elastic on it somehow slipped into the little slot on the squirrel bag's zipper pull which took quite a while to get out.  I shoved the purse to my side and it propelled all the way around ending up on the right side while the wide strap sunk into my throat and cut off my air.  I put the shoe box back and gave the Baggallini life form another shove and as it circled for a landing it came off my neck and slid down over both arms, ending up like an monstrous fanny pack.  Walking down the aisle trying to adjust it back to a tame crossbody, the bag from hell smacked into the open end clearance rack and knocked off several boxes, spilling the shoes.  I bent to pick them up, it slid over my arm to the front and hung from my neck like a feedsack.  I shortened the strap and used it as shoulder bag, which kept sliding off, and wanted to try a pair of comfort shoes.  With my arthritis, try as I did, I could not remove the hard form inside that holds shape. People passing saw me struggling with my hand in a shoe, grunting, making faces ... what did they think I was doing?  I'd had enough and left, remembering I parked near the light post.  That's the second time I set off a car alarm in their parking lot.  Did you know that to the untrained eye, a new Nissan Rogue looks the same from the back as a Ford Escape?   
I came home and husband asked what I had stuck on my pants.  Must have happened during the shoe department ruckus.  I'm glad it didn't have embedded security and set off an alarm. 
I know I was not posting for another week, but by then, the details of this would be forgotten or blown out of proportion.  I tried to tell my sister about my perilous purse, but she kept getting calls and putting me on hold.  So I decided to tell you.
Enjoy your weekend.

Apr 21, 2016

A bump on a pickle

That's what I feel like when it comes to stitching.  Just a bump.  Sitting there.  The dyed green linen is out.  I need to throw out that fabric that I hate working on.  It's ... thick.  The linen threads are too thick or something and I have a hard time seeing the over two pattern in the weave so I stopped.  I love the Sea Glass and hate to use my last piece but what am I saving it for?  When I can no longer get a favorite color, I tend to hoard more than usual, but that would mean I wouldn't get to enjoy it in a project. If not that, it will be my stand-by unbleached.  But I am not feeling it regardless of linen, colors, or design. 
I thought I should switch to wool applique since I bought quite a bit and haven't used it at all, but that's not snapping my socks either.  Do I need a complete break?  I think I will take two weeks off and not force myself, dwell on it, or feel guilty.  After that time, who knows?
I heard from Karin and was happy to see that everyone followed through with their orders for the caps.  She has some cute charms too.  Maybe I'll do some sewing and see how that works out.  Too bad I don't know how to alter clothing two sizes up.  Not a damn blouse or capris from last summer fit.  Not even close.
May 1 is a week from Saturday and the Liberty boxes will be on sale.  As usual, limited quantity.  I think I will shut down the computer until then too and just check emails. 
I must tell you about how distracted my mind has been.  I keep in touch with Patti's husband and he emailed to tell me he visited a friend for a couple of days at his beautiful home.  He wrote "on a hill with 16 acres, got to drive his '41 Ford.  Wow, 450 horses".  So I replied that I'm glad he had a nice visit and where is this home with 450 horses?  Was I embarrassed when he said the 450 horses were in the Ford's engine?  No.  It wasn't as bad as 40 years ago when my husband was out of work.  We took a long drive out of town into the country and I saw a sign at a large farm and recognized the company name.  The sign stated  - 23,000 happy employees.  "WOW!!! They probably hire often with that many workers - maybe you should apply here!"  Husband said he wasn't qualified.  "You're the smartest person I know and can do anything.  Why wouldn't you be qualified?"  He looked at me and said "because I can't lay eggs like the other 23,000 employees".  Sometimes you feel so silly you laugh hard enough to wet your pants.  And the older you get, it happens if you just smile too hard.
I hope the rest of April brings you warmth and blossoms.

Apr 19, 2016

Holy caps!

Didn't expect that many!  Here's the plan to handle this quantity. You visit her Etsy shop, contact her through the email link on her page to order your amount (Berry cap #SF61).  She will then purchase enough for your requests to make sure everyone gets what they want.  When they come in (about 2 weeks), she will contact you for shipment before listing them.  Any extras that are left, will then go on Etsy and those extras will be first come first served.  Please state what you definitely want since this will be a large amount for her to purchase without commitment.  It's very nice of her to make sure that everyone gets the number they would like. 
So.  This is her Etsy page.
If you aren't registered on Etsy, it is very easy and you don't have to use your full name, no credit card or financial info is needed.  They just want to make sure you log in when making a purchase to protect the sellers from scams.  This page will tell you how to register.

Right beneath the round photo at the top right is her name and the CONTACT link.  Click to email her with your order and make sure you state the number of sets of 4 for item SF61.  Remember, it will be around two weeks but you will get what you order.

That's it folks!  We'll all be capping our berries soon.
Thanks Karin!

Apr 18, 2016

Who wants the cap?

UPDATE - to order, please go to this post for information.
Greetings folks.  The cap order (like mine) has come in.  It was a special order for a customer who bought more than expected and there were only a few left, which I bought.  She will order again and would like to know how many of you are interested so she orders enough.  The price is $3.35 for a set of 4 + $3.35 shipping (flat rate regardless of amount purchased), total of $6.70 with US shipping for four caps.  Additional quantities of $3.35 for four.  Two weeks for the order to come in.  Please leave the number of SETS you would like in comments so I can let her know.  You will order from her, not me, when they come in and I will list her link for you.  So if you want 4 caps, request ONE set, if you want 12, request THREE sets.  Please leave what you would like in the comments if you are interested.


Apr 17, 2016

After the malarkey

Well that was embarrassing.  Watermelon head or not, that was certainly a menomoment, worthy of being added to the list of  "what the hell was that?".  It's the end of it, that's what it is.  I will find my method that works or continue avoiding those projects.  Amen.
Being productive with a needle has not been happening but will today now that the floss colors are chosen.  I did get the boxes done for May and this prototype for June.  The remaining sales will be this 4x6 tall oval until my supply is gone.  Can't get this size any longer and the others are always low stock, some have peeling/bubbling paper.

My cousin in MN sent me a photo of her and her sister (the one with FT dementia in a facility) and it was so very upsetting.  This vibrant world traveler only 3 years older than I am.  Her once shining eyes are empty, her strong frame diminished to a slump, her beautiful face I could no longer recognize, her intelligent speech now unintelligible.  I wasn't expecting such a rapid and drastic deterioration.
Enjoy your day.
For 30 minutes, be alone in silence, breathe deeply, stretch your body, observe your surroundings, touch everything, embrace your sadness, feel your pain, cry to cleanse, let it go, smile at the sky, be stunned by the vastness, open your heart, and thank God for being able.

Apr 16, 2016

Cancel the epiphany

I'm totally wrong.  The first half does indeed make a difference.  Here's what the first half switched would do to the back loop if I followed the TOP/top method.  The left side is the correct direction from the instructions, and the right side would be changing the direction of the first half of the cross.  Vertical linen thread is on top, but top to bottom second half cross is incorrect making the back loop in the wrong place and allowing the thread to slip and disappear.
And here's what would happen if another stitch was beneath.  The second half would need to be from top to bottom even though the vertical thread was on the bottom, so that top/top bottom/bottom nonsense was way off.  Following my method would again not create the loop in the right position to prevent disappearing threads. 
Looking at the examples, I see that the back loop must be running the same direction as the top linen thread in the intersection.  So I would move horizontal or vertical to come up for the second half of the cross, depending on the top linen thread.  Across if the thread is horizontal, up and down if it is running vertical, regardless of the first half direction.  I think this may be correct.   Am I right this time????
I am definitely using Barbara's method so maybe I should just give up trying to learn this.  I'm having enough trouble with wanting to stitch.  Many of my older pieces had over one and I don't remember it being such a hassle!!  When I can't grasp something so simple, it really aggravates me.  But I am letting go!
Sorry for the malarkey.

The over one epiphany

was a bunch of nonsense so I removed this post's content,  just in case someone thought it made sense and would give it a try.

It basically was incorrectly thinking that the vertical thread in the intersection of the stitch, would determine the second half of the cross.  If the vertical thread was on top, the second half would go from top to bottom, and if the vertical thread was on the bottom of the intersection, the second half would go from bottom to top.  Wrong!  So rather than create a problem for someone, I decided to remove it.


Apr 15, 2016

Barbara's over one

When I posted about how I detest stitching over one and the problems I had with the thread disappearing, Barbara (in England) was nice enough to offer her help.  I've visited all the instructional links about thread directions and methods to prevent that but, to my dismay, the first half of the stitch continued to disappear or stitches would be very uneven.  This is Barbara's method.
She uses a loose, lightweight piece of "muslin" tacked to the back of the over one section, or held in place if using a hoop.  From what I've researched online, what is called muslin overseas, is equivalent to muslin gauze in the US.  I am familiar with the tightly woven lightweight fabric.  From what she pictured and explained, her muslin is loosely woven like a bandage, more like a gauze.  I have a very old roll of fine cotton gauze banding which I could use and I also may try a piece of tulle after rinsing to remove the stiffness.
Stitching through a backing would help to keep the floss from slipping behind the linen threads.  Would it prevent it completely and allow the stitcher to use their regular method instead of a cross pattern specifically for over one?  In this example, Barbara had a small section of over one so she just pinned a piece of gauze over that area, which she said could also be tacked into place.  With a hoop/frame, you could use a large piece of gauze secured with the linen and then cut away the excess after stitching that area.
Here's the front showing the completed over one section (a Jeannette Douglas design). 

 Barbara said she uses the backing for smalls and ornaments because she feels the stitches lie better.  I would think this would help a great deal with tension issues and give a little body and stability to smalls and lightweight linens.
I wondered if products like the stabilizers used in embroidery would work, but anything that is fused may be difficult to get a needle through because of the glue involved. 
Barbara said she can't claim credit for this method because it is commonly used and frequently taught in England.  I'm so glad she offered her help because I've never heard of this tip and it may be the answer to my trouble. 
This framed beauty is one of Barbara's large samplers, another superb class project from Ellen Chester.
So there you have it!  Have any of you used this trick?  Did it make a difference in how easily you could stitch the over one areas?  I have many rejected charts because of over one, maybe that will change now.
Thank you very much Barbara!!  I love getting advice and tips from advanced stitchers like you and appreciate you sharing your expertise.

Have a great weekend! 

Apr 14, 2016

Getting closer

How are you?  Good I hope.  We're half way through April already!  Can't believe how fast time goes.
Just wanted to show my dye job for Mary Spinney.  This linen was a brownish natural and marked as 28, but after several dye and dry sessions, it looks like it shrunk to a 30.  Either way, it's a little more substantial than the original and I don't have to remove stitching, just start pulling threads.  They aren't marked with color numbers on the chart since it was a kit, just the color name so I will have to choose pastels according to the description.  I hope once that's done I won't find another excuse to delay the start. 
The linen is an odd green and I'm surprised I matched it.  It's still slightly damp in the photos and will dry a little lighter, but slightly darker than the shiny silky linen from the kit.  Any bets whether I use it or change to the dark blue?
 I was looking at a few tutorials for various sewing bags, and although functional and really pretty, I think I will stick with these for storing kitted projects.  I like being able to see through the portfolio instead of having to remember the contents.  Makes it easier to browse but once pulled and started, I prefer a canvas/fabric bag.
I get the sliding top heavy envelopes and the flap with closure at Staples, the other is from Pat Catan's art department. 
It's large and has an outside clear pocket for the chart and the supplies can be in the zippered part.  I have a bunch of the smaller ones, perfect for small projects and charts.  Wonder if I will get the mojo back to ever stitch them!
I will be recouping at home for a few days and get the photos of Barbara's over one method for a weekend post.
I'll be on an antibiotic for a week after the procedure and it should take care of the cat scratch too.  He'll check it on follow-up.  Thanks for your concern and advice!
Have a wonderful day.
Thanks for visiting.

Apr 13, 2016


Found them!  I have been working on a bench for use as a coffee table, that has areas to keep the stitching out of sight yet easy access.  A similar bench was there but a little too high so I moved it to another room.  When I passed it last night on a Missy hunt, I remembered moving charts to it.  Mary and all her friends were safe and sound in addition to others I had forgotten. 
One of those was Mary Spinney from the Examplarery.  She looks like a fun piece to stitch, only 7" wide on 28 and I need to dye a piece of linen for her.  When I purchased her from Ebay, she was already started on the kit's linen by the seller, and the color is great but it's very sheer.  I need to decide if I will start it over on a newly dyed 30 count, or continue on.  Elizabeth Clayton was another catching my eye but I think narrow quick to complete rows are the best choice when not feeling needle love.
This piece is a beautiful dark olive and I could probably use R&R Sea Glass, but I tend to hoard linen that I like.  Rather than use what I have and love, I will waste an afternoon messing around trying to dye another piece.  Why am I saving it when I don't even feel like stitching any more?  The new blues I bought will be hoarded too.  Such a silly girl woman old lady.  Took a customer service survey this morning and checked off the 55-64 bracket.  That 65 birthday is very close, but they won't know so I plan on staying in the 55-64 bracket.  It's like having to go up another size in panties.  Those big big girl panties that have screaming elastic threads breaking and hanging like fringe on a 60's hippie. 
This afternoon I'm having a minor office procedure done.  I'll show him my wrist while I'm there.  No fluid or swelling, just sore and red.
Have a great day people!  Stay safe, eat cake.
Have a piece for me.

Apr 12, 2016


I had to take Carole to an appointment this morning and I got two cats out, but Missy was no where to be found.  She is so bad and silent and she does not stay in the room with the boys.  Could not find her.  Did she sneak out with the others?  Did she not come in for breakfast?  Search the basement.  Search the upstairs.  Running around in a frenzy because now I will be late picking her up.  Hot flash begins and I stop, open the fridge for a cool blast, and as I turn.... I see the little devil.  She must have been looking at those charts on the sofa and hoping to give an opinion in her special ornery way.  My wrist is becoming more inflamed and probably infected so I do not need any more scratches.  Little does she know that those two are no longer in the running.  So there, you dirty pawed little brat.  GET OUT!!!
I have decided to force myself into a project but so far, have been dragging my feet.  Not only is Mary Spence and Elena Tratman still on a binge somewhere, Mary Elliot must have gone with them.   Sarah Harvey and Lillias Davidson are here but I don't have the wool for Lillias yet.  The longer I put this off the harder it will be.  Am I the only one that can actually lose sampler charts that are brand new and kept in one room?  So ridiculous.
Have a great day.  Neosporin and Advil for me.

Apr 11, 2016

The sampler verse, wordy men, and poetastic fathers

Dummy me thought they were the words of the stitcher of years ago.  I don't study samplers, history, provenance, styles, and never will.  I just like them.  And I'm lazy.  So when I was reviewing the Rhode Island sized chart of Jane Ballard (and not understanding the flower stitches) I thought... hmmm.  I've stitched this verse before.  Yep.  Mary Oldfield.  Did a little online research to find "tell me ye knowing..." is on the samplers of Rebecca Cullin and her friends in addition to others. Then I found an excerpt from the book American Samplers which is a free read on Google.  Seems I wasn't the only one that thought this....
That last line says it all, and could have with fewer words.  To my dismay.
Based on his letter he was a wordy intelligent man and he was fooled too.  I don't feel as bad now about the sampler verse, but a little simple because I would have just said "hey, the verse is not their own words".  To my dismay.
Barbara sent me a few photos of her over one method which I never heard of, but she said is commonly used and taught in England.  Will be sharing that this week.  Might be something else you all know and no one shared with me.  To my dismay.
Rain rain rain.  To my dismay.

Apr 9, 2016

Berry love

Even though pink is not a favorite color.  This is vintage pink hand dyed velvet from The Old Tattered Flag with the new cap.  Tomorrow I will make one in black and red, slightly different in size.  Couldn't wait to show it!!  I still like the wool caps too.



Snow snow snow.  All day.  Wonder how much we will get by day's end.  Good day for stitching isn't it?  I looked through charts and ended up pulling a few big girls.  Why?  I don't want to stitch and yet I'm considering very large projects.  Ann Spence and Elena Tratman must have been partying together because they are gone.  No where.  I spend more time making a mess than cleaning it up and my frustration got the best of me.  How can I lose two large charts?  Although large, the charts are well done and easy to follow which makes a huge difference to me.  I also pulled Jane Ballard, first the cellophane envelope ripped, then when I pulled the chart out I was disappointed.  I do not like charts printed on a single sheet of paper the size of Rhode Island.  So thick when folded that my magnets won't hold it on the Magma.  I usually make a working copy to color and make notes, Jane will be sixteen in all.  Right now I have Jane Ballard, Sarah Harvey, Mary Elliot, Margaret Logan, and the two party girls in the running which means....... I will end up with a little one.  Depends on the number of flashes but I usually change my mind right before threads are pulled.
Before the printer dies a third time I got May's box finished.  Another dark red, Liberty.  Using small samplers came out so much better than the countless hours of trying to manipulate large ones.  I look back at the first ones years ago and am disappointed that they weren't nicer.  But Now that I am pleased with results, everyone is boxed out!  So this will be the last set of the squares, starting May 1.
I was asked why I keep chocolate in the house since I am addicted.  It's because I have to know I can grab a piece during a chocolate emergency, and also to teach and test my willpower.  I need to learn that I can walk away and stay away from sweets.  I have a real problem, did with cigarettes and moved on to sweets.  Our local paper had an article today that 20% of local babies so far this year were born addicted.  I saw what these innocent babies go through their first months of life and the mothers who can't care for them and it kills me inside.  If you ever watch them wail and shake, you will never forget it.
The treadmill died which we knew was coming.  It would abruptly stop when the breaker blew even after a short distance and slow walk.  Mark took the motor apart and it needs new brushes (which are metal blocks but called brushes) and we will order them somewhere and start it up again.  I hate exercise and especially the noise of the treadmill, but I am so out of shape that it is necessary.  I used to follow Leslie Sansone for 45 minutes while holding weights and now I am lucky if I finish 15 with assistance!
Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.
Thanks for visiting.


Apr 8, 2016

One excuse

for not stitching is this.  Budman nailed me.  It's much better, been almost a week.  This is the outside of my right wrist and any wrist movement at all was very painful so I had a good excuse to not stitch.  Now that I can move it some, I need to find another excuse or search for a chart.
Had several emails about berry tops and I have a few more items to show you that can be adapted.  Years ago, my sister made angel pins of all types and styles, I designed the display cards which all had a little verse and name for each angel.  We had lots of jewelry supply catalogs and you can easily find these items online.  The cap I showed last post was new to me and I found that in an online search.  The items we used for wings and backings and such were called filigree findings.  They are stamped from brass or metal, the brass more expensive but the soft metal can be manipulated to a degree.  The cheaper material cannot be bent without breaking.  The brass would also break if bent too much. To give you an idea, these are brass, large, and can be gently shaped to the berry top.  Not all will work, but they are 1 3/4" which is much larger than the largest of the bead caps.  Just make sure there is a little opening in the design to allow for shaping.
Someone said that Faye will also be selling tops, I don't know the size or anything but I'm sure you all follow her and will get an update.  So there are options out there under names that have nothing to do with berry tops.
Have a great weekend!
I'll be getting more snow.  Yippee ki yay.

Apr 7, 2016

The berry cap

Hey.  How the hell are you?  We're cold and wet in PA, have been and will continue to be. 
I finally lost 3#.  It's a start.  The most important thing is - I didn't gain which I have been doing for some time.  There isn't ONE pair of spring pants or capris that fit me except for the stretchy Karen Scott that I showed a few posts back.  I must do something and am truly trying.  As for the chocolate, my heartburn has decreased with the reduction.  But the other day, there it was.  The basement door was open and the light was on.  My husband always leaves lights on wherever he's been but I ignored that fact.  To me, it was a sign, beckoning me to go down those stairs.  Door open, a guiding light to prevent another fall, it was fate.  I saw the light.  That light leads to where I keep the chocolate.  I thought making a trip up and down the stairs would deter me but over the years, I just wore out the carpeting.  It was a sign.  I went, I ate, I enjoyed, I took a Tums.
Now for the berry top.  Seems many of you have been looking for a metal top for fabric strawberries. 
Here's mine.  Very sturdy, no bending at all, lots of photos to give you an idea of size. 
I pinned it to the top of a wool berry that was finished with the calyx (or leaves) top so it looks a little odd but is about the right size.  They are not in stock but she will email me when she gets replenished, and I will post the source at that time.  I would still like to see a larger size.
I like the heft and the design.   This berry is a little over 3" long and thin.  The bell caps and bead caps I've seen are way too small, even for this size berry. 
So if anyone is interested, I will post as soon as they are available and you can order from her.
I still prefer topping my berries with chocolate.
Have a good one!!

Apr 4, 2016


Hi folks.  Random's number belonged to rosek1870 and I'll be contacting her shortly.  Thanks to all that entered.
No new project chosen, not sure if I will.  I think I'm done, but I will look through the stash and see if there is something that excites me enough to search for linen and thread.
Tomorrow morning I will open the Sampler Box page to sell Hannah.  She printed really nice as did the small sampler I chose for May.  June will be odds and ends and that may be it for boxes too.  Just in a slump about everything right now which could change on a dime.  Damn flashes are back again and they are vengeful.  I've been trying to watch what I eat and have reduced chocolate drastically.  Crabby as hell.  Tried to jump out of the car today and once again forgot to release the seat belt, Bud gave me really nasty scratches on my wrist, another store's cement post incident (this one was covered with mirrors and I thought I ran into someone so apologized to myself in public after walking into it), fell going UP the stairs, treadmill stopped suddenly and snapped my neck, I am back to running chores for my sister, and I need a haircut.  And it snowed.  And that doesn't amount to a gnat's ass because people are suffering heartache and illness.  So shut my piehole with a PIECE OF FRICKING CHOCOLATE!!
Here's the box, just a few, offered tomorrow.
Again, thanks for participating and visiting.

Apr 1, 2016

April Fool .....

me.  How embarrassing.  I planned to offer a box with Lisa Roswell's design on the five year anniversary of her tragic death.  Well it isn't April 1, it was March 1.  I don't know if my memory or my confusion of dates is worse.  I did not know her but knew of her, and from the lovely tributes and comments of stitchers who did know her, she must have been a great gal. 
So one month late, egg on my face, here is the box with her Two Horses design printed on the label.  If you want to enter the giveaway for this 4" round mache box, please leave your email/initials in the comments.  Random will do its job Monday evening the 4th at 8pm EST. 
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