Jan 31, 2017

Stupid little things

should not bother me.  Or you!  But sometimes they do anyway and I guess it's just human nature.  One of those things is .... electrical plugs.  Every time I try to plug into an outlet, it won't go.  That wider prong is always on the wrong side.  So I have to flip it over in order to plug it in and that just pops my weasel.  Well no more.  I got a white paint pen for the black and brown plugs and a black marker for the white, and now I can readily see which side should be up.  On my mark, get set, plug!
I chose 422 for the lion instead of the 951, and may use it in a small area at the bottom.  This looks so much better in person.  I wonder if my $5 Tracfone would take a better photo.

Oh look.  White crap.
Might as well snooze.
Thanks for visiting.

Jan 29, 2017

An easy stitch

doesn't always correlate with an error free stitch.  Off one thread, really don't care, stitched the same error on the other side to match it.
35 count R&R Mink.  Started it on 30 count and decided it would be a little too large to hang from a cupboard, so moved to one thread on the 35 count making it less than 6 1/2" wide.  I haven't stitched the lion in the middle of the row yet, not crazy about a pink lion (sorry Vickie), may try a yellow toned beige.  Eyelet is a stitch I like to see in samplers but most require it for the entire alphabet and that gets to be tedious for me.  This one line is perfect. 
I have been having evil thoughts for a while now.  Giving up the needle.  In fact, selling off some pieces.  Mark said just roll them up and store them because I will be sorry.  That makes sense since I usually regret a LOT of my decisions.  I don't know if I am nearing the end zone of menopause and it is putting forth a final blitz, but everything seems to be changing.
Mia, I cannot reply to you.  This design is very old and may be available on Ebay or Etsy, possibly Em-li's http://www.emlis.com/.  Sheepish Designs Rosanna Pinkham.
Have a great start to an even better week.

Jan 28, 2017

"It's always something"

Are you too young to remember who that quote is from?  If so, "never mind".
This sampler isn't from Rosanne Rosannadanna, but it is a Rosanna.  Long ago I stitched this sampler as a gift to a friend, and she asked to borrow it for her friend, I obliged before I stitched it for myself, time passed, friend passed away suddenly.  What I found in my mess of messes is a beat up written on worksheet.  I decided to search online for a color photo to jog my memory and there she was.
Rosanna Pinkham from Sheepish Designs.  Ain't she a sweetie?  Forgot all about her.  My worksheet is old and beat, the symbols are not clear, but I can easily see color placements from the photo.  I think you can get this very old chart from Em-Li's. 
This was a tough call because I had planned to work on 1739 from R&R, very primitive and definitely on the to-do list, and couldn't decide between these two.  Rosanna won because her colors are easy.  1739 has a lot of very light threads that I want to change and that drags me down.  I have searched several engines and I still haven't seen a photo of it other than the chart's, hard to see.  And both are very close in size.  Harry's Lion will be in the second basket in my new bench, and I will go back and forth.  Hopefully. 
 Kielbasa stew for dinner today.  Used my pressure cooker for the cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and in just two minutes, they are well done.  I saved the steamed liquid to add to the stew's broth and it is so full of flavor and rich, full of the nutrients.  The Instant Pot is big, can also be used as a slow cooker, and I can saute in the pot before pressurizing.  We love the French Market Bean soup which takes quite a while with dried beans, and I think the Pot will do a great job in short time. We took the old heavy aluminum (manual) cookers to the recycler.  They take metal cookware but only if the handles (usually plastic) are removed.  I use several old stainless fry pans as water dishes and bird baths.  Easy to clean and they don't break.
Have a good weekend.

Jan 27, 2017


Found two heart boxes during my closet cleaning.
May try the other one with the Barrick heart I just finished.

Jan 25, 2017

The Lion sleeps tonight

Greetings buds.  The Lion, Harry Tyler's to be specific, is on hold.  Although I love the colors of Weeks Dye Work's linens, I have a problem stitching them.  My tension is never good, but not as noticeable on a stiffer coarse linen.  The heavier threads in the weave don't collapse when I tug a little.  A softer linen tends to stretch out when I hold in hand and stitches are pulled in leaving a little space between, collapsing the weave. Normally it's not an issue but light floss on dark linen shows this much more and wasn't covering well. 
Barrick's 1848 Sampler was stitched light on dark (32 count Belfast Charcoal) and look how nice their flesh tone stitches are. 
So I compared the two and I could see I wasn't going to get good coverage for the large lion area.  They are the same count, and look how skimpy the bottom ones look on the WDW Gunmetal.
And now for the real truth.  I cut the linen too short.  Had no choice but to start over!  

But now I know to always use a heavier linen for light floss on darker ground. 
But did I stop there?  Hell no.  I kept looking at Harry's photo and thought the blue should be darker.  Should I try to order something online and hope I like it?  No.  I dipped the Charcoal into a mix of two blues and it's richer, deeper, good.  I'm hoping  the stitches will fill better and that I cut it correctly.  But honestly, I may set it aside and work on a small sampler.  Sometimes being sidetracked throws me off-track. Tomorrow will tell.

January is coming to a close quickly!  Enjoy what's left.
Thanks for visiting.

Jan 24, 2017

A place for my ponies

Finally!  My ponies have been wandering around for quite some time, not able to find a good resting place.  The bag wasn't working, too large for a hanging pillow, what to do?  Well today I was working on the final few boxes I found, and while searching the new computer for the old files, came across the ponies circled.  ????  What the hell, give it a try. 
So I made the label and I was gobsmacked.  You have no idea how long I've waited to use that word.  And this is the time.  WHY did I not think of this before?  The poor ponies have been hidden in the dark, waiting, and it never occurred to me to try a padded round lid finish. 
 I will lose some of the stitching but that's fine with me. 
Then I remembered the stack of tall rounds waiting for labels and tried the larger size.  Bingo.
I don't want to use this very tall box and it belongs to a set I plan to label, so I will check HL for this size in the short series and if not, will use the smaller short and lose more of the stitching.  But at least I finally have a solution to displaying my ponies.

Whiskey for me and beer for my horses!!! 
Black Velvet Roasted Caramel will do just fine.

Jan 23, 2017

It was bound to happen

Chocolate.  On my linen.  For years I have been eating, drinking, snacking while stitching, without incident.  Today, it all came to an end.  Hard to believe that a tiny piece of Dove dark would be overlooked.  I examine the red foil to make sure there aren't any loose tiny flakes, lick the outside edges that hold that delicate chocolate dust, so for a tiny crumb to get by me was more surprising than it showing up on the linen.  Wasn't even in an area that my fingers would have been.  Nevertheless, there it was.  I used warm water to drip through the linen, hoping it would take the chocolate with it.  It didn't completely and like a dodo, I rubbed it a little.  So there is a small lighter area now, and I believe the leaves from the tree will hide it.  I'll work that side and see what happens, before flipping the linen over (the back side is not nearly as bad).  A lighter spot on a solid like Belfast's Charcoal would be very noticeable, but the very slight variations in this overdyed helps hide it.  I guess I'm so used to using my almost indestructible unbleached rough stuff, that I am too lax in the care of my projects.  Well....  too bad.  I'm not changing.

Jan 22, 2017

Heart drawing

Hello people.  I didn't think I would get this many entries!  In addition, 17 email entries, one of which was chosen.  Amy Komack.  I will contact you for your address as soon as I'm finished boring everyone with this post.
Next project.  One of two and I hope to decide this evening.  My husband is in the other room screaming at the Steelers, a little distracting, but I think I can handle it.
As the slump continues, I thought one color of thread would be easier on me.  I am continually making changes and that is not the thing I need to be doing right now. 
So this design popped into my head.  Harry Tyler's Lion.  I have the GAST threads, pulled a 32 count natural linen, and this piece fell out of the pile.  Hmm.  That Gunmetal that I worked with to tone down that unusual blue.  Reverse the design and use 644 on the dark ground.
The other option (leaning to) is R&R Reproductions 1739.  It is really primitive and that means LOTS of room for errors.  I would change the thread colors for a little more definition, and not be too concerned about messing up.  Either one, a good choice.
That's it folks! 
 Thanks for visiting.

Jan 21, 2017

Heart to heart

Who wants Kathy Barrick's Black Heart?
Leave your name/initials in a comment or email me (click on the postcard).

A quick offer to be mailed out Monday, so Sunday at 8pm I will draw a name if more than one.  You can also order this chart on her Etsy site https://www.etsy.com/shop/kathybarrick.


Jan 20, 2017


Some times, finishing goes smoothly.  Other times, it burns more than a flash.  I had no problems tracing a heart, centering, sewing the backing. 
But that damn cleavage always is an issue with me.   It's fine until the stuffing enters.  All worked out in the end but it was a real test.  I passed.
Finished the heart using my usual method of just folding paper and cutting a heart shape until it fits.  Real technical.  I hate measuring.  
Once it's close, I hold it up to the light and pin
into place, trace on the backside with a Frixion pen.  I always leave a decent allowance since I can sew it closer if need be. 

 Instead of leaving a side opening, I sewed around the entire heart and used my envelope method for the back.  Because of the fricking cleavage, I seamed a short section at the top and the very bottom instead of having two halves.  Pressed the seam allowance in and clipped the excess.

I used the 1" thick quilt batting cut to shape, decided to add another layer of it, then steamed. Carol of http://stitchingdream.blogspot.com/ wrote about her favorite bagged fill and once I bought it, there was no going back.  She recommended Touch of Silk and I love it.  Never thought there would be a difference but there is.  I steam and smash the fill until I get the density I want which would always flatten, almost melt, the batting.  This brand will condense the fill and give a nice feel, but doesn't harden like the other.  In fact, you could actually remove it and pull it apart to re-fluff it, even after steaming.  The quilt batting (yardage type) worked well so I didn't use this product for the heart, but do for a lot of finishes.
So what's next?  Another small sampler?  Or heart?  Not sure, but I am certainly loving my new bench.  Magnifiers, tools, and baskets with projects, all hidden but handy. 
Have a good weekend!
Thanks for visiting.

Jan 19, 2017

That heart of mine

Changes as usual!  Went with the peacock instead of the angel, gave the bee wider wings to take up the space (sorry for the bad photo).  All in all, will work out to a nice shape.  Hot flashes have been brutal for the last few days so I will not attempt sewing the finish until patience returns.  I've been waiting for years and it hasn't shown up yet so why would I even say that!
 Carol, the stitcher of the inspiration for this project, emailed me with the information on her heart.  This looks very blue to me on my screen but it is not.  Her linen choice was 40 count R&R Ink Spot Black.  She said the actual color is a washed out black, and shows lighter in the photo.  Fabulous work Carol!
Have a great day.
Thanks for visiting.
p.s.  Cathleen is fine - linen is hers.

Jan 18, 2017

The bench!

For a few years now, I've wanted something in front of the sofa that I can store stitching in.  I have the typical shaker looking bench which is narrow enough for a small room, and tried baskets and boxes on top of it.  Wasn't working out too well because I needed two hands to open the lid and retrieve an item.  I tried the bench with the hinged lid but I had to remove all items from the top before opening it.  I had a solution but never got around to following through. 
Because the last several projects involved changing not only colors, but design, I had way too much of a mess around me.  My DMC guides were referred to constantly for thread colors, and pads and pencils for sketching, and bags of floss that didn't work.  That forced me to try my solution.
 (Notice how many little red foils are mixed in.)
And here it is.  This is the typical style of bench that most of the shops had around here (and several that we made).
And here it is now.  We just cut out the front apron, touched up with some stain, added a board inside for a shelf!  This will go back in front of the sofa, open shelf facing me, and I can have easy access to my DMC guide, current project, tablets, and these black baskets from Michael's fit perfectly.  It will be nice to have a concealed spot to put all the accessories and keep the area much neater.  There's even room for a few books and it may not be a lot of storage but certainly enough for now. 

I haven't heard from Cathleen Nelson yet about the fabric.  I did reply to her email and listed her name in a post, but maybe other events have delayed her response.  If I don't hear from her soon, I will draw another name.  Hope all is well.
Thanks for visiting.

Jan 17, 2017

In Paint

Lots of big photos coming up!
Several of you have asked how I manipulate photos to test colors and placement.  I have no idea what equipment is required to do those YouTube videos and show you, but that would be fun!  So here's the best I can do.  A few screen shots for the basics.
The more I looked at the Heart, I was concerned that the blue bird was too close to the middle cleavage (or whatever you call that dip in the center).  So I took the photo, opened in Paint, and rotated the bird horizontal so the tail would be out of the way.  Here's how.
First, right click on your photo from it's current location (Pictures folder, Photo Gallery, camera file) and choose Open with ..... Paint.  If the photo is too large, click on VIEW at the top menu and then  .. zoom out. 
On the Paint HOME page, click on SELECT (you can't copy or paste without it).  Your little cursor cross can then be positioned in the top corner area of what you want to change.  Hold your left button/touchpad while dragging the cross around the area, let go. The dotted lines around the bird indicate the "selection". 
  Once you let go, move the cursor into the selection area, right click .....COPY.  Then right click .. PASTE.  Your selection will appear in the top left.  Don't touch anything or it will stick.  Move the cursor into the paste and drag it to (hold down mouse/touchpad) where you want.
Let go (lift off) when positioned, move out of the area, and click to finish the move.  Not right?  Just hit the top left blue BACK arrow and start over.  You can hit it several times to go back even further to remove prior actions.  You can also just hold the mouse/touchpad and drag your selection to the new location WITHOUT right clicking for copy and paste, but that area will then be a vacant spot of white. 
You can also select an area of linen to copy and paste over an area to block out any stitching.  This is mostly how I removed the diamond shapes in the original chart, some were covered with the brush option. 
But regardless of how messy the work is, you can get a sense of the changes before actually stitching, and determine if they are a good or bad idea.  Many times, the new move will not cover an area completely and a small selection of bare linen can be pasted to hide it.
In this case, I wanted to rotate the bird so after making the selection with the cursor, I clicked ROTATE on the menu, and chose FLIP HORIZONTAL, which did just that.  You can continue choosing the position to rotate before you anchor it.  Not right?  Just hit that blue arrow and start again. 
When you are finished, you will have the option to save the photo.  IF YOU DO, your original is gone and you have the changed photo.  But.  The thing to do - click FILE, SAVE AS, JPEG picture, and just add a number or letter to the original file name when the box opens, and then save.  That way, you keep the original and also created a new file with the changes.
And keep in mind - you can close the entire page and choose DON'T SAVE, which will go back to the start.  Remember that clicking the blue arrow to go back will remove any errors or changes you want to do over before ending your work. 
I wanted it over more, and also the brown bird, so I selected and moved both to the right.  There will be overlaps and such but it will give a general idea as to whether the changes you are considering will work.   And because I did this, I can see now it will be much better for the heart shape giving me more space for the center cut, worth the time to remove and restitch. 
I hope this explains the Paint method I use, maybe one day I'll be a FlossTube star and show you more detail .
This also works for changing colors, but not as easily. Same method if you have an area of the color you are considering, with small copy and paste sections.  Otherwise, you must use the brush menu, edit the colors, and it takes a while.
Did I make it harder or easier for you to try??
 Or was it a big snooze fest?

Jan 16, 2017

Mojo working

Hey!  I thought I would have given up by now on motif-icating.  I did have problems with the basket so I simplified for my aptitude.  Just a few more and I need to decide on moving the peacock in place of the angel or stitching as is.  I had a noticeable error in the last photo.  The birdcage was missing its top.  I thought it looked odd.
  I'm still working on Santa's bell finish and simplified that too. 
All went well at the hospital today, except for the slight whiplash after the wheelchair turned into a catapult.  I had trouble with the new models at the Diagnostic Center, those were hand brakes.  The hospital's are like a lounge chair with side arms that raise and a long bar across the top that needs to be held tight.  If you let it go, boom.  Brakes.  Sudden stop.  Patients lunged forward.  We had a good laugh since this has happened so many times before, starting with the speed bumps in the parking lot.  As we checked into the Heart Center, we were greeted by a memorial plaque for our doctor that recently passed.  So sad.
I've been on a kick for the Cowboy Candy we made this year.  Jalapenos in a sweet heavy syrup, the hot/sweet is heaven!  And I don't care for hot peppers.  A baguette slice, a few candy, and a little slice of cheese, under the broiler real quick and I can't stop eating them.
As for the sticky chicken, it's hard to give a recipe.  Mom made this and called it sticky chicken because ... it is.  Sticky.  You can use whatever parts you prefer (I like dark).  In a plastic bag I put 1/2 cup flour, 3/4 tsp. paprika, 1 tsp. cinnamon (or less), less than 1/8 tsp cloves (or none if you don't like clove).  Shake to blend and then add chicken pieces to coat, brown in canola oil, and transfer to baking dish.  Slice potatoes into quarters or eighths, par boil until starting to soften.  Drain and add to baking dish.  Sprinkle some paprika and cinnamon over, salt over all.  Add 1/4 to 1/2 stick of butter to browning skillet (depending on how much oil is left), add a little water, melt and blend scraping any bits.  Pour this over potatoes and chicken, cover loosely and bake at 350 for a half hour to 45 minutes.  That's it.  We like a little more cinnamon and a touch more cloves which can be added after baking if needed, or to the liquid before pouring over.
Weather has warmed somewhat and Mark will be golfing again.  I'll be going around the house making lists of projects.  Simplify.
Take care, be safe, stitch happy.

Jan 15, 2017

Heart progress

Good day to you.  Hope your weekend is peaceful.  I have the afternoon in a QUIET house, Mark is golfing.  If it's above 32, snow is off the course, they play.  For some reason, I still can't adjust to a schedule since having him home all the time.  The only time I can get my butt in gear and clean the house, organize, declutter, is when I am alone.  So that's the plan for this afternoon, and then make sticky chicken again.  He loves it, we just had it, but wants it again.  Very simple with a touch of paprika, clove and cinnamon.
So here's the heart progress.
I am still having issue with the very dark fabric so I opted for my comfortable linen and I believe it's 28 count.  This will be a little larger but that's OK.  Changing thread colors here and there to accommodate the linen, simplified some of the motifs to a solid color, and changed a few positions slightly. I raised the birds because I want the heart cleavage a little deeper, narrowed the center tree and the bird cage. I prefer long thin heart shapes and doubt these minor changes can achieve that, but even just a few stitches can make a difference. It will be a nice heart to frame with a mat, but I will sew it and hang it from the iron hook I installed on my interior doors.  Really happy with that idea, so easy to move things and the larger sewn finishes are the perfect size for doors. 
Tomorrow, taking Carole for her echocardiogram and I'm sure she will have other errands for me. 
Have a great week!
Thanks for visiting.

Jan 14, 2017

Names drawn

Hello people.  LOTS of entries!  But it worked out that the names drawn each had a different preference so everyone is receiving their choice.  That was lucky!
Names drawn were Bonnie Tucker, Cathleen Nelson, laceystitcher, and Cheryl Petrashek. 
Thanks everyone.   I may have more in the near future.
Have a great weekend.

Jan 12, 2017


That's what I have.  Mojoitis.  I am trying to start the heart, having decision issues, and that throws water on the few embers left. 
I started with the Charcoal Belfast and for some reason, I can't see well enough to be comfortable.  Using 3.0 mags and I am still hitting the wrong hole, searching, ending one thread off.  Over and over and over.  So I decided to move on to my standby unbleached stiff linen, which means thread color changes, again.  I get so frustrated with the time and effort involved to START a project, that it dampens my enthusiasm.  Happening now. 
So I went back to the Pinterest photo, threw it into Paint, and removed the diamond elements as I did with the black background.  Guess what?  I think it looks just fine.  The stark black accented every stitch but with a lighter background, I like it either way.  So do I follow the chart and change nothing?  It would be easier.  I can leave the diamonds for last and add or not.  This is the photo that made me want to stitch this design and I should have referred to it sooner.  I think it may be WDW Gunmetal linen, and I probably have it.
I create my own problems by making changes.  There are times when stitching should be just stitching.  Not rearranging, not overthinking, not planning something different.  Just stitch.  Pick up the freaking needle and go with it.  If you don't like it, move to something else, make a minor change, but don't let it get to the point of ruining the enjoyment.  My last several projects were changed without charting and they weren't easy. Right now, I need to pick up a simple chart and follow the recommended linen and threads.
It was high 60's today and Friday will be 30. We took Carole to the doc in torrential rains and winds, he was pleased with her progress, and impressed with the size of my cold sore.
Thanks for visiting.

Here's the deal

Check the prior post for more detail and then email me with your pack # choice, in order of preference if more than one. I will draw one name for each pack.  The price is still $15.  I don't like this fabric and you may not like it either except for a few pieces in your batch.  I have other pieces that are current, known count size and color, that I may sell for regular prices. But this is fabric you have not seen, not sure of count, maker, color, so I don't expect you to pay for what is basically, a grab bag, even though some pieces are quite large and neutral.  So please list your preference and email me if you are interested.  I will notify the name drawn by 6PM Saturday.  US only.
Pack #1
Pack #2
Pack #3
Pack #4

Jan 11, 2017

For one reason or another....

I do not like this linen.  The color, the texture, the sheen, the thick thread, the heavy fringe. 
ALL linen except where noted.  None are over 32 count, some are easy to recognize, others may be 30 or 32.  Can't say for sure so those are not noted.  A few may have a couple of stitches started, the 40" roll has work on the edge for a short distance so I measured from there, not the edge.  Don't know if there are fold lines, some were washed and dried after I dyed them, some were never opened.
Do you think $15 per pack shipping included is too much?  Not sure how to do this because I don't know how many are interested.  Should I list one at a time and draw a name or first come all at once?  I went over them twice and bagged them, weighed them, so I am 99% certain that all is correct.
 I will offer them Saturday and let you know how to purchase in a post before then, but thought you might like to see what's in each package first. 
So from the Meager Globes Awards, here are the nominees for Linen Leaving.

Pack #1

 28 count    R&R Dark Cappuccino 15 x 26
 28 count    Light green something 19 x 25
                   Something brown 11 x 19
27/28 count    Antique white 18 x 28
                   Something brown 12 x 16
                   Black - Jobelan?  Monaco?  ??  18 x 28
28 count     8 1/4" x 40 antique white

Pack #2

                  Something brown 11 x 18
                  Darker tan 17 x 25
                  Dark brown something 10 x 17
                  Tan 19 x 24
                  Tan 24 x 25

Pack #3
                  Something tan/brown 12 x 16
28 count     Something sagey green 11 x 13
28 count    Something brown 11 x 12
28 count    Antique white 10 x 10
28 count    Tea Dyed/Sandstone 18 x 28
                  Golden tan 18 x 26
                  Tan 13+ x 24
                  Something green 14 x 19
                  Something green 11 x 13  (DMC 503) These two green are one piece with a corner cut
                                                              so I'm listing sizes if the piece was cut into two.
                  Some odd sized pieces for ornaments not measured.

Pack #4

28 count    Tan 10 x 36
                  Clove/Persimmon 9 x 12
28             Antique white 18 x 28
28 count   Something brownish 11 x 16
                 Darker something brownish 12 x 19
                 Black Jobelan or something similar 17 x 18
                 Jobelan (may be Khaki) 17 x 24
                 Antique white 18 x 27
28 count   Something green 5 x 13

Thanks for visiting. 
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