Jul 31, 2016

Berry pickin'

Removing all the years of supplies for projects I intended to make and never did.  Some new items have taken preference.
Maybe I should be using the materials and supplies everywhere to get projects ready for Christmas sales instead of stitching.

Flower thread

Hello!  I can't believe it's August tomorrow!  To say I'm crabby is putting it quite mildly.  Hope your weekend is going well.
Choosing the next project is such a chore for me.  I could take weeks and still be undecided, and by then, Mary Ann Bradbury should be finished.  She is small but interesting with dividing bands of different yet easy stitches.  The recommended thread is flower thread.  I knew I had some and surprised myself when I found it.  Truth be told it was by accident but that's irrelevant.  
Do I enjoy stitching with it?  Yes and no.  I like the thickness and only having to use one strand.  But in this small area, I have made several errors and the flower is delicate.  A good yank and it breaks, the twist loosens, and it leaves behind fuzz when removed.  For me, very similar to using wool thread.  This is 30 count, chart calls for 25. 

Mary Ann is by R&R from 1994, reproduction from Boston Museum of Fine Arts.  Another small simple marking sampler with great colors.  I will probably continue with the flower thread but I'm picturing this with DMC and ..... ah..... I think I would prefer it.  The linen is the Broom Stick brown that I don't like.  Just grabbed the top of the linen pile and the top of the small sampler pile.  Best way for me to start a project while deciding to start a project.
As for the zucchini bread, it's a different kind of chocolate flavor being mostly from cocoa, not as sweet as the traditional box cake.  There is no liquid in the recipe and I made the mistake of removing too much moisture from the zucchini.  It shouldn't be wrung out for this, maybe just drained in a colander for a bit.  We think it's very good and I like the strong cocoa flavor.  There may be a tie with the bundt recipe (here).
Thanks for visiting!

Jul 30, 2016

Saturday baking

And it's that wonderful cocoa aroma.  Instead of making the usual chocolate zucchini bundt cake that brings me to my knees, I tried something new.  Mark prefers nut breads or banana bread to cake so I gave this one a try.
(click for the recipe)
Good grief.  I already burned my mouth snatching a corner crumb.  The aroma is wonderful and waiting for it to cool is unbearable.  There is a difference in scratch cake made with cocoa and this one also adds chocolate chips.  The pan is dusted with cocoa instead of flour.  I was cooking with zucchini all day and left it shredded in colanders for over an hour, then double wrung in flour sack toweling.  The recipe doesn't specify to do that but I always do. The video states 325 degrees but the written portion states 350 which is what I used.  I think this will surpass the box cake bundt but I won't know until I consume at least half of the loaf.  That's the only way to get a really accurate analysis.
Tried a few new zuke recipes and still come back to this quiche (recipe here).  The pizzarelles Mark makes are addictive but I wanted something that freezes well for the excess.  An elderly friend gave him the recipe, made for wild mushrooms, and he called them pizzarelles.  Haven't met anyone yet that doesn't like them!
Dinner will be the stuffing mix meatloaf that Carole's friends rave about.  I always use the onion soup mix and we love that one, but thought I'd give this a try.  In the oven now. 
All the tops fit Carole and the best deal of the bunch was this $70 pink sweater with black beading and embroidery for $7.98.  A little short for her liking but I told her to wear a longer black blouse beneath and let it hang.  Seems to be the style now anyway.  Problem solved.  She stopped over on her way to dinner with the girls last night and she had on a top I had not seen before.  When asked, "it's new and really cheap from a catalog".  Looked nice to me!  Then today, she felt like a Panera and drove there for a sandwich!  Girl, you have no money!!  As I've said before, when people ask if I have children I answer, "yes, I have a 78 year old daughter".  She is a stinker.
Enjoy your weekend.
I hope to pick the next project and paint those boxes.

Jul 29, 2016

Better late than never

Sorry!  Everyone was entered into Random and all I had to do was hit the button at 4, but I started playing with Lucy.  Lots of moving and manipulating but I worked out a label for the square boxes.
I didn't realize how much time I was spending on it, but I finally hit the button.  Mimi Gannaway will be receiving the tags.  She sent in an email along with 18 others that I added to the comment entries.
Thanks everyone!  Mimi, I hope you like the tags!


Jul 28, 2016

A year later....

as we continue following The Story of Kitchen, Dominic called!  Now.  He did not understand my clear, twice written dimensions, but at least they were under and not over so they did fit into the cupboard.  And here's what we had him make.
Our corner units have a middle fixed shelf that is 16" deep.  It could be cut out and a corner lazy susan installed, but because it is a retrofit, the size would be small in order to get it into the opening.  Not worth it.  I designed these full extension drawers because I have had enough of the bending and reaching.  
Putting them on a base with the glides allows for easy installation, just screw it down to the shelf and bottom. 
 Nothing can be installed in the corner but that's the only spot I will need to reach.
All four 16" drawers are full extension and can be pulled out far enough for easy access.  Yahoo baby. If I had them made any deeper, they would be sticking out and not allow the other drawer to open.
And as usual, I get the best ideas after the fact.  So Mark will have to remove the top two, but I'll hold the light for him. It's the least I could do. We have two of these corner cabinets and Dominic only got around to making one set.  Good thing.  After seeing the space left above the drawer on the middle shelf, I decided to have Dom build a double decker.  Adding another drawer with less height above the deeper one will give me a utensil drawer.  Or spices, or hot pads, or casseroles, or lids.  So the two on the middle shelf will be relocated to the bottom shelf of the other corner cabinet and I'll wait for 4 double deckers to install on the middle shelf of both cabinets.  This is next to the stove and will remain cooking items, the other will be canned goods and with two double deckers plus the bottom drawers, no need to use the empty corner space at all.  I just hope it won't take him another year to get to them.
I found some fabulous tops in JCP's clearance section for Carole.  Plus size Alfred Dunner beaded tops and blouses for less than $10 with my coupons ($32 for four!).  Just can't pass up bargains like that.  I've always shopped for Mom since her stroke, Dad because he wouldn't buy himself anything, Mark because he has poor taste, my brother because he has no idea how to bargain shop, my nephew because he is too cheap to spend on himself, my aunt because her DIL's are "busy", and Carole because she can't walk.  Unless it's to lunch or dinner with her friends.  She goes out a lot with friends, most all with expensive clothes, so I would pick up some nicer things when I saw them.  Then I find out that her closet was filled with them, TAGS STILL ON!  She lost weight and started to rid the excess items and I couldn't believe it.  From years ago to present day, my efforts (and $$$) were for naught!  Totally ticked off.  She didn't need anything new at all and felt bad that the items she "loved to death" were never worn and given away.  So today, I continued the idiocy I swore to stop, because I can't pass up a bargain or a coupon. 
The End.
Back tomorrow for the drawing!
Now wasn't this boring?

Jul 27, 2016

A beautiful night

Perfect temperature, low humidity, the second month of summer gone.
I finished the little hornbook that was to be Martha Hards sampler.  I like it.  For now anyway.

Almost made a trip to the ER.  I've put off the heart monitor for two months, time to get it on.

Jul 26, 2016

Testing testing....

You will get to choose from two options. 
Sorry for the poor photos, but the tags are high gloss and I had to take these without much light, so they are not very clear.  They are 3", 2 1/2", and 2".
The first is from Lucy Redd. 

The second group is from various samplers.

This third group is the one I just now decided to keep for myself.
They are on thin acrylic, not perfect, and not tested for durability.  The edges may eventually lift a little ..... add a dab of Elmer's.

The red houses on wood have warped and that's a shame!  Usable, but I'm not comfortable offering them.  I think the others are really nice and I love the feel. 
So if you would like to enter the drawing for these tags, choose #1 or #2,  include your initials or email in your comment. Email me if you can't leave a comment for your entry. samplersandsantas@gmail.com
I will draw a name on Friday the 29th at 4pm.  Then I will throw a hissy fit about losing July.

Jul 25, 2016

Only because you asked, brow time

Permanent cosmetic tattooing lasts for a few years,
but is not forever like traditional tats.
 This is a solid powder fill because I have only a few hairs from the middle to end.

Close up - you can see my thin hairs ending around the middle.  There is a method called microblading or something like that, it's very fine hairlines and totally realistic.  But it may only last 6 months, my method fades in about a year or longer (depending on the # of sweaty flashes) and then is touched up to darken again.  And the most asked question - no it really doesn't hurt too bad.  They use a numbing cream over and over during the procedure and although I did feel it in the beginning, it was like getting pinched.  And it's over pretty quick so no big deal. BUT - make sure you see her work beforehand - some use very dark ink and terrible looking hair strokes.  The first week will be darker because some of the ink sloughs off, and you may need a touchup after a few weeks if there are any spots that didn't take as well.   I choose a medium brown even though my hair color is very dark (when I color it on time).  It's lightened and is now perfect.  You can also get a shade of gray for salt & pepper hair.  Her charge for both brows was $125, so so worth it to not have to worry about the pencil coming off.  I came home from a flashy shopping trip to find myself with one brow gone and one smeared.  Kind of like walking around with my one lens sunglasses.  I feel it's made a huge difference and ...... I'm 65 and it's time I started doing some things for me.
Other than eating a bag of Dove chocolate covered blueberries AND a bag of chocolate covered cranberries.  Neither survived 48 hours.  I am so ashamed.

Jul 24, 2016


Worked on a few more tags to finish off the material.  They aren't completely finished yet, still some work to do.  Will the edges stay put?  Will the finish hold up?  Hard to say since they are untested prototypes, a set of two on wood, two sets of three on acrylic.  But since I don't need them all, which one will I give away and have you test?  I'll let you know this week.


Jul 23, 2016

My tags

Hello people.  I guess most of us are having some heat, and I must say, I am thrilled that my eyebrows do not sweat off now!  My friend has such thick and beautiful brows, she can pluck in one day as much as I have on both.  Before, one good hot flash or heat wave, a gentle wipe of my forehead, and that waterproof pencil was gone!  So glad I found her and just may have a little liner done also. 
Here's my tags!  Corner squares, whatever.  I did not do the large 4" because it is not necessary to me, and I use the Gajit anyway. 
I found some very thin but sturdy acrylic (?) that we cut and I love the lightweight slickness of them. 
They are glossy which I never do, but I should ask - do you think the labels on boxes should be high gloss?  I always use a matte finish and wax but maybe gloss is better?
So now my decision is .....
which way do I ring them?  Small in front I think, but I do love the middle size (sampler) best.
I think another set will show up soon.  They're just too cute to have only one.
Thanks for visiting!

Jul 22, 2016

From frame to

fringe.  Several sewing projects that have been hanging around were worked on today in a 120 degree sewing room.    They all had a prior finish of some sort that I wanted to change and finally did. 
The ornaments are just that, and will receive stuffing and a hanger whenever the hell I feel like it.  No more pockets and fancy crap.  Hang it and get over it.  The linen on the Lydia Broome sampler (Pineberry Lane) had very thick threads.  Perfect for fringe, a large piece left that I will never use became the backing, and the machine did the sewing.  I used the Frixion pen to mark the sewing line by just running it in the ditch.  Easy to follow and straight with the weave.
Is it hot in here?
Have a fabulous weekend.
Thanks for visiting.

1848 sampler

An abbreviation of Barrick Samplers' 1848 Reproduction Sampler.

Jul 21, 2016

Playing with a full deck

That's something I don't hear often.
Hiya.  Didn't get much done yesterday until 10:00 pm.  That's when I printed some labels.  In every size.  From every file.  It was like playing a card game.  This one in the middle, no - use the big one, no - make it all houses, no - how about all Lucy Redd, no - all red houses, no - add a sampler, NO!  I switched them around and around like a shell game. Finally have it narrowed down to the three on the right.
  All this time spent on 3 little squares I may never use.  I checked several places and the ones I liked were all gone, so I'm doing my own in 3", 2 1/2", and 2". 
Wood is stained, sealed, ready to attach, not as nice as Tammy's from In the Company of Friends.  These look to be printed on very thin acrylic and mine have to be labels on wood.  I guess they can be called a "make-do"!
  Something tells me I will have two sets when the card game ends.  And I will still use my Gadjit (or Dritz sewing gauge).

Jul 20, 2016

Cutting it short

Once again, I am shortening the design.  I wasn't planning to, but once I saw how striking these two figures are on this linen, I didn't want anything else to take away from that.  It would still be a great piece with the top motifs but I am liking it just as it is. 
I thought a type of wallet or purse would be great for a finish, but that's a lot of work without a pattern.  A needlebook is perfect.  But that isn't as visible and mostly displayed in one area.  I like this enough to want to see it often and move it easily so a hanging accent fits the bill.  Framing in a 4x6 works too, but then I leave a hole in the wall every time I change its position.  One thing I would have done differently if I had known the finish .... make both figures the same height.  Other than that, love love love.   The blue fabric will be the back.
I am so glad I finally got the hang of blocks of stitches.  My older pieces that had houses or lawns, anything solid, looked striped.  The tension (or maybe the sewing method) created striations that were obvious. 
Once I started doing the first half of the stitch from side to side until the area was filled, and then crossed the second half in rows running top to bottom, it made a big difference. 
You can see the arm looks like there is a tiny space between the rows, but not on the dress, chest, or block beneath her. It helps my work look more uniform and that is certainly an improvement.
Bud agrees.
The doc said xrays show no break.  I have a bad sprain on the right ankle and the left foot.  There is one spot that is very painful to touch and with this amount of swelling and sudden sharp pains, I thought it was broken.  I wish the swelling would go away - can't wear my sandals.

Hopefully will be painting boxes and making a few corner squares today.  But it's nice outside and Mark is golfing, I'll probably have my butt on the swing enjoying some solitude.
Thanks for visiting.

Jul 19, 2016


Hello hello.  I can't believe we are in the third week of July.  Why is summer flying by so quickly?  Many of you have high temps, we are getting them too.  But I can sit on my swing and not have it bother me.  It just feels like an extended hot flash to me and I am so used to them.  Mark's friend's wife sleeps on a ChiliPad and keeps it at 60 degrees or she can't sleep.  The newest is BEDJET which fills a special cotton comforter with either warm or cool air, dual zoned.  One is beneath you, the other is on top of you.  Never heard of either but a perfect solution to the he's cold she's hot dilemma.  The older I get, the more important a good night's sleep is.  And the tighter with the buck I get - neither of these are cheap.
Anyway, received my second order from 123.  It included some linen colors from the first order, and these additional.  I like the gold and surprisingly, Grasshopper.  The Copper Penny isn't mottled much, perfect for me, but there is a red spot.  I will start the stitching there to cover it and work out from there.  That should work.
But here's what I wanted to show you and why it is so difficult to order online.  You purchase a chart and order the specified linen and sometimes you don't know that it's very different from the designer's piece and will not look the same.  Case in point, this WDW Dolphin from two sources.  Drastic don't you think?  I don't want the new one, I want the first one.
Under table lighting or a flash, there is no similarity.  My first piece is the right side, dark and gray.  The new piece is light with a tinge of aqua.  I can understand that each dye bath will not be exactly the same but this is too much.  If I had not ordered a second piece, I would have thought Dolphin is the dark, which it may not be!  Who knows which the designer had and which is the real Dolphin?
Lucky is the stitcher with a linen loaded shop.
Hey.  That's good.  Should be on a T-shirt.
Have a good day.

Jul 18, 2016


Tried and removed four different purples until ending with 208.  I need to remove the light trim on the dress and change it to more of a tan or pale yellow so it shows against the light skin.  It just blends right in on the sleeves and neck. 
Found a beautiful tunic for Carole and will check for tiny rhinestones between doc appointments today.
Making more strawberries.  Fat ones and little ones.  I haven't decided if I will sell finished berries, sell the tops, or give out the source.  May take some time to decide. 
Have a good day, be safe.

Jul 17, 2016

I ate cake!

A lot of it.  And as I am typing this, a news report is coming through that police were set up for an assassination and 3 are dead, more are injured.  This will be brief but lots of photos.
This is what I made this morning with many more to come.

For those of you that would like to make the sponge cake, here are the pages from mom's booklet.  Her addition of the chocolate shavings are added at the bottom corner.  The Mahogany is wonderful too, never tried the Maple Pecan on the other page.  These cakes are not the moist soft box or bakery cakes.  You can click on the photo and then click again to enlarge, print if you'd like.
 I have more photos but sadness has turned to anger and I am done here.

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