Feb 20, 2020

In my face

Well pelt me with M&M peanuts.  Why didn't I think of this sooner?  Instead of adding another aid to the supplies already surrounding me, why not use what's right in front of my face?

I stitched a piece of quilt batting to the arm of the magnifier to test, and voila!  It can hold all my shorts and singles without adding to the clutter, even when I raise the arm.  I will replace this with fabric trimmed thick felt to look a little nicer.

And once I sew a fabric bag to match, it will replace the plastic one now holding my glasses hanging from the arm's base.  But what would be even better is a huswife.  A few pockets for aids and tools, a perfect place to display and use such a project.  A few styles to think about ---

Nan Lewis Threadwork Primitives impeccable sewing.

Or add stitched pockets like this from Needlework Press (Eliza Tuck huswife)
Primitive and fabulous from Pam Gill (Primitives Past).

Handy, functional, less clutter.  If I order a Brightech for another room, this idea should work for it also.  I'm excited about a useful huswife on display.  Not all ideas come to fruition, but I'd like to give this one a good effort!

Now for those M&Ms.


Feb 19, 2020

Motif a day

Making progress.

A stag with a pink tail, short leg, and clubhoof

A plant without a top
 Precariously balanced flowers

 A nicely done floral

And the group in harmony with the green polka dot dog.


Feb 18, 2020

A little hole in a little drop

Mark suggested I get off my pity pot and have him drive me to the needlework shop in Boardman.  I filled my head with Toppik powder and decided to go.  And it wasn't Tuesday which is when I usually stop there, forgetting that the shop is closed.  She had a nice variety of charts and smalls, some reproductions, even HATS.  Saw many designers completely new to me, and this embroidery pattern caught my eye.  Isn't this sweet?  Sending My Love from Crabapple Hill Studio.  Not cross stitch but such a lovely project.  Other sayings are included for the banner... Remember Me, Hugs and Kisses, Friendship, and Thinking of You.

The owner is very nice and very helpful.  Unfortunately, a good customer was choosing colors and linens and I had to wait 40 minutes to pay for a few items.  She politely told me she only had one more project to choose.  I browsed while waiting to pay for my mini poms and found the thread drops.

  I was going to order the ones I showed you on Etsy with the extra hole but hadn't as yet.  This brand is sturdy but no lines for notes and no extra hole.  When I came home I searched for the hole punch and the drops soon became what I preferred.   That extra hole will hold the extra strands or any used threads without having to disturb the large knot.  One packet was punched, the others won't be until I see how it works.  I don't know why it wouldn't!! 

I recently saw two floss tube videos that show how to make your own in the first (with great ideas for material), and how to wrap your floss in the second (another great idea for storing).  And again, she pulls one thread at a time which boggles my mind.  I have trouble separating one strand from the six without being knotted around a hole!  But it works.  She is Cross My Stitches.

It's raining and gloomy today so I should be able to drive myself to the doc.  But my sweet hubs likes to chauffeur me.

Hope your day has some sunshine. 
But if it hurts your eyes, gloom is good too!!
As long as we have light.


Feb 17, 2020

Motif a day

My eyes were burning and terrible, my lips cracked and hurt, I had to keep removing fallen hairs from my work.  A really depressing day, but I continued on and completed the motif of the bottom right corner and can now see the finished length. From the excess fabric, I calculated incorrectly, or never bothered to trim the linen.  Either way, not nearly as large as I expected.  When pattern is repeated, I usually don't check the chart often, and I'm lucky I did for this one since the three sections are all slightly different.

Hope your week starts well and ends even better.

Thanks for visiting.


Feb 16, 2020

Narly Marly

Good grief.  My floche came in, without instructions.  I truly believe anyone who is beginning, suffering, or recovering from menopause, needs written instructions.  For everything.

I just assumed the arrow on the label shows the direction to pull as I do with floss.  Fugetaboutit.  I had no idea that this soft and easily shredded thread needed to be handled differently, gently, frustrating careful.

Here, from Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread, is the correct way to handle this thread.

It seems I always end up at this site, and I'm very grateful that she offers so much information and help.  Unfortunately, I searched for help only after the disaster.  After cutting it in half in an attempt to release the nest, the results were too long.  I need to shorten, half again would not work, and will lose even more of the hank.  I carefully tried to save the nest, but frustration took over and I reached for the lighter.  The same one that set many snarky projects to flame.  Mark stopped me and took over, then suggested scissors.

 Will there ever be a next time?  Not sure.  I haven't stitched with it, bought it mainly for Santa's beard and other Christmas designs to achieve better coverage.  Just like silk, it was snagging on my rough hands, and I'm not sure I like the feel of it.  But when stitching, it may be wonderful to use.  We'll see.  If I like it and want to order other colors, I will certainly get the smaller portion and not the narly hank.  The other #20 and #25 are in the usual skeins and feel more like standard DMC.

I always know when Petey is on the deck.

Hope your day is narly free!!


Feb 15, 2020

Controlling tension

Hi everyone.  My latest motif (floral vase) was a lot easier than the others and I was able to use my favorite method for controlling tension.  My threads usually do not lay smoothly, evenly, properly, add tension irregularities and I create a wonky stitch.  It's me.  No one checks my samplers, no friends have any interest, so studying my work is never done.  And it doesn't matter to me or I would put forth an effort to better my stitches.  The only time they look fairly even in tension and placement is when using this method for blocks.  I've mentioned it before, and will again, because I am always pleased with the result.

For houses and larger blocks I use the sewing method horizontally for the first half of the stitch, completely filling in the area before crossing.  The second half of the stitch is done vertically, which creates (for me) as even a stitch as I will ever produce.  The right side is the first half, and left side is completed.

For this vase, I added a line of blue creating a rim simply because it looked odd to me without it.  The two rows in the rim were done my usual way, completing one row at a time.  You can see the ditch between them even though I was deliberately being careful with my tension.  The body of the vase appears to have a more defined stitch rather than a row of floss squished together.  The sewing method is what I use most, but if I completed one stitch at a time, that definition may be there.  But I like the quicker sewing method, hence, wonky stitches.

In order to make the sewing motion easier, I turn it upside down for every other row to work bottom to top.

Because I am all the way to the right edge, I needed the spool huggers to hold the excess linen.

And my finished block of stitches look pretty even without an obvious horizontal pattern,  I also used this method on the first set of leaves on the left since I could compare the result to the others.  Hmm.  Better, no??

Anyway, not sure if I will complete this side of the sampler to the bottom or move elsewhere or take a break.  I have not been feeling right, BP is high, HR is high, hot flashes galore, and high anxiety.  Much of that is because of the continuing hair loss, dramatic to say the least.  But I am seeing the doc Tuesday for a chat.

Hope your weekend goes well!!
Thanks for visiting.


Feb 13, 2020

Motif a day

Another tree with bird and stag, starting on a large floral vase tonight.

Something I can't understand.  I went to Brightech's website and can only find floor lamps, no magnifiers.  Other sites carry them, but I thought I visited their site a few weeks ago and the magnifiers were all offered and described.  I emailed and explained my purchase/return from Amazon after I found that the purchase was actually fulfilled by Amazon but sold by Brightech, not a third party.  So I guess you can't order from them directly and I'm hoping to get an explanation about what I received.

I did order another Magma (Knitter's Pride pattern holder) in the smaller size.  Another brain blunder - I forgot that the strap allows it to stand for viewing.  There is a pocket on the other side.  I was surprised to see that they come in a few prints now.

We have lightening, thunder, snow, ice and scaredy cats.  Petey is a maniac and fighting with yellow cat, trying to corner Missy, and obviously it's mating season.  I did get the roundworm medicine mixed into a little tuna and he ate it.  Again in two weeks.

Gave my duster a haircut.  Still loving how easily they dust my chair spindles and rails.

Tomorrow will be very cold, and my 9 year anniversary to blogging.  Geez. Where are the years going?

Thanks for visiting!


Feb 10, 2020

Motif a day

Odd birds, a dog, a tree, small flower basket.

Here's the top so far.  Haven't completed the over one, and the additional small sampler will be attached in the open area.  Another branched tree with A&E coming, I think that one will be much easier for me with the Dazor.  Hopefully, I will speak with the Brightech people today and maybe order through them but until then, my stitching spot will need to move to the Dazor's location. 

My eyes had a bad weekend and I really can't do any more.   They dry out so quickly which makes everything hazy and blurred, and every 10 minutes I need drops.  So it's best to give them a rest today.  I tried the Dazor along with a pair of 3.25 glasses which did not distort as the others did (thank you Catherine).  I will need the glasses for higher counts but 3 diopter in the lamp is perfect for me.  It's hard to get used to having a lamp over my work, sort of in the way, but it's actually not.  Just an adjustment for the better and SO much easier to see the chart symbols!  I made several errors mistaking a symbol for a similar looking one, but that will not happen under this lens.  Still surprises me that 1.75x through this lens is better than 4,25x on my face! 

I can't wait until this sampler is finished.  I think I am half way there.

I've had a number of requests for the thread and will pull a name and notify the recipient by email.

Hope your weekend went well.


Feb 9, 2020

An offer in white

Hi stitching buds.  Thanks for the comments about the table.  I remember a wide adjustable table we bought to fit around the base of Mom's lift chair.  What a help that was.  Where is it?  I donated the clothing for bedridden patients I made for mom and many of the aids used to move and lift her, maybe that went with it.  
Thanks also for the comment about the LoRan products.  I do have the stand and boards and forgot!  My chart is always in the Magma but I can certainly switch back.  I am sure the arm on the Brightech would be easily moveable, we think the rust found inside the pole must also have been in the arm and prevented that.

I have two skeins of the coton a broder from DMC in blanc, numbers 20 and 25 that I am offering to someone wanting to try these threads for better coverage on higher count linens.  I haven't tried them yet, so can't say if two strands on 28/30 works, or which # is best for 32/35.  If you would like to try them, please email/click 
 Much easier than asking you to leave your address in the comments.  Some of you receive posts by email which is not until 11pm, so I'll wait until tomorrow morning to pull a name.

Have a great day!!


Feb 8, 2020

Can you see it now?

Nope.  My Brightech is going to Kohl's Amazon return desk.  First of all, the 5 diopter (2.25x) was so distorted I was getting dizzy, too strong for me.  I had to keep moving the linen to get it clear, closer was best, which didn't leave much room for stitching.  I do not believe that's a quality issue with the lens, just too strong and sensitive.  3 diopter (1.75x) is much better for me (even better than my 4.0x glasses) but the return is also because of its condition.  The screws removed on the base stem (to slip the rod over) had rust in the threads.  We could not get the rod to fit over that stem, the spring inside would not depress.  Looking inside to see why, the interior of the steel rod was rusty.  The base was scuffed.  The flexible arm was not.  I did not have the strength to bend it and was expecting it to easily move up and down.  The styrofoam box was broken in two.  Was it used?  Or sitting in a warehouse too long?  We never plugged it in or actually assembled it.  Not acceptable for that price.  I'm sure this is isolated but there are sellers on Amazon that sell returns and buy rejects.  It would be the perfect size for that area and it has excellent reviews.  Ordering from the manufacturer after contacting customer service about the flexibility would be a good idea. 

As for the issue with needing glasses to view the chart symbols, solved.  I plan to order a laptop/bed tray that can be raised at an angle to hold my essentials and chart.  After testing, the chart is magnified through the Dazor with no distorted edges and perfectly clear.  No moving, no additional glasses, this is a perfect solution. 

Another option is the larger sized tray table that slides beneath chair or sofa and offers a nice flat surface over your lap, but I would want an angled book holder for the chart.  I've used a bed table before but Carole needed something after her surgery, and it's still there.   I like having a large area like this and can attach a cup holder to the side of the leg or top for my water.  Macy's has one with a drawer making smaller projects easy to tuck out of sight.

Spellcheck has disappeared from the top right corner of the post page, replaced by a T for formatting.  ????  If there are errors, deal with it.

Enjoy the weekend!!


Feb 7, 2020

Motif a day 2

Almost every neighborhood has at one time had one.  
The house whose owners applied every paint sample but couldn't decide.  
The house whose owners never thought the color looked that bright on the swatch card.  
The house whose owners could not get a reputable contractor to do the roof.  
The house whose owners had to rip off a room to get to the septic pipe.

The House of Wonk

Ann Hicks, what the hell????


Feb 6, 2020

Motif a day

Two more

Another fricking flower basket with a bird,
a little alien spaceship beneath it,

and a one armed bridesmaid.  Or is that a scepter and a levitating crown? I guess with a crown that size and feet that small, she wouldn't have a chance at staying upright.  There's another figure further down, quite thin, with such a crown atop the head.  That one appears to be holding a baseball bat, or large salami.

Wonky motifs are so forgiving.  No frogs required.
It does bother me to not have some symmetry, but if Ann chose to dress her in a crooked gown, give her two mouths, and miniature feet, I will follow her lead and relish the opportunity to hide errors.


Feb 5, 2020


That's what my mom called me.  My brother called me Weed because I was so tall.

I've always had issues with white floss coverage.  Improved by switching to Anchor's white, but many times, three strands were required.  Recently I saw new-to-me types of floss on the Tube purporting to have great coverage and decided to try them. Doing a little research, I found a great explanation on Mary Corbet's site. 

These threads are non-divisible, single strand, and softer.  Just like the coverage my chair cushion gets when I park myself, the thread's softness also spreads out and fills the space.  One is called floche, the other is coton a broder (cutwork thread) available in several thicknesses.  #16 is the heavier, #25 is most similar to the floche.  I searched for days, only to find it unavailable in blanc except with a ridiculous shipping charge of $7.90 for a skein of floss.  Finally, found them all on Needle in a Haystack.  Their shop is more brick and mortar than online but you can click on the products in the left hand column for a searchable option. 

If interested, here is the thread listing, just scroll down and click the DMC threads you are interested in, they have both the floche and coton a broder.  The floche is a huge hank but you can order a smaller amount.


Taking Carole for more tests today.  I may drop her off at the door and have her ask an aide to get a chair and wheel her.  Sometimes a sharp pain will grab and stop me in my tracks, which may cause me to release the chair's handle, which in turn activates the brake, and sends Carole flying.

Have a great day!!

Feb 3, 2020

Before you know it

spring will be here.  We will soon have an enormous mess in the yard with the state mandated sewer project.  Since the line to our septic system exits the house in the center of our addition, we are screwed.  Mom's addition is a separate line to the system coming from a different area.  So far, no one is willing to excavate beneath the room (they are worried about liability for the structure) and the addition may have to be torn down completely.  If it does, we're looking at losing the room and a total of around $22,000 to run the line.  If not, about $17,000.  $3000 hook-up fee on top of that and around $100 a month with yearly increases because we don't have enough funding from the state who is mandating this.  My sister's friend is selling her home about 10 miles from here and I absolutely love it, but it will be quite a high price.  I've been looking for months, haven't seen anything I like.

Mark is golfing on this sunny warm day, and I am barely walking around the house with ice packs.  Twisted just enough over the weekend to knock something out of whack.  Chiropractor tomorrow morning.

I worked on this floral basket for WAY too long.  Between stitching, removing, stitching again, removing again, I finally got it right.  Moving on!  My lamp is coming this week and I am anxious to try it.  As for the Dazor, it's not the look I have issue with, it's the size and location.  My room is open to the kitchen, one wall is fireplace, the other TV, so I have one full wall for a sofa.  My chair sort of separates the two rooms and this large base and arm would not fit.  Using the end of the sofa doesn't allow for a near by table for supplies, my water, and eye drops.  The new lamp is lower, gooseneck, and smaller base.  Here's the new problem - what about the chart?  I need magnifiers to read it and can't wear them when using the lamp's magnifier.  Catherine suggested weaker glasses but I don't have any under 3.50 to test and need that strength to read the chart.  

This is the plastic bin I am using to hold the Magma and everything I need, easy to relocate and organize to prevent searching for something lost.  The Magma will lie flat over it all and the lid keeps the cats out.

When we visit the Cheese House in New Wilmington, these are the options for jellies and jams, all the way to the end.  My favorite is Mrs. Millers fig and these are the chunks of fruit in it that I enjoy on cream cheese.  


Many of these flavors I have never seen elsewhere.

I guess they are not uncommon, but they are certainly not flavors offered in our grocery stores, any type of fruit and fruit blends only found here.

That's it folks.  Hope you all have a great week.
Thanks for visiting.


Jan 31, 2020

An eye opener

While watching Stitching in the Barn's video featuring Kay and her lovely home filled with samplers, I learned that the Dazor lamp company offers add-a-lens for their circline model.  Purchased separately, it is added to the bottom and attached to the two screws as an additional lens.  A 5 diopter lens can also be purchased and installed in place of the standard 3.  Another realization was that wearing +4.0 glasses (which is the diopter or curve) does not mean 4x magnification (it's 2x).  Who knew?  You and my husband, not me.  

Wearing magnifier glasses in conjunction with these lenses is a little tricky.  This 3 diopter lens alone is actually better and clearer than my Foster Grant 4.0 glasses.  Looking through the lens AND wearing the glasses, required me to pull the lens closer to my face and the linen closer to the lens.  Without the glasses, I needed to hold the linen further from the Dazor and had crystal clear excellent vision.  Their lenses are optical grade distortion free glass.

This is what it looked like through the glasses at a normal distance, much larger, totally blurred.  The closer I got to the Dazor, it became smaller and clearer, but I had to also bring the fabric closer.  I couldn't get the linen weave any larger with the glasses and changes in position than using the lens alone.  I am so confused.

My husband is very smart (I'm the smart-ass) and he failed to explain this to my satisfaction.  I don't get it.  Doesn't matter, I'm just surprised at the clarity from the light and 3 diopter lens.  I will first try stitching with just the mag light and no glasses.  My test was on 28 count, later today I will pull a piece of 35 and see how it looks.

From Dazor's website, here is an example of looking through the 3 and 5 diopter lens and also a chart showing the distance from the lens required for clarity.

Looks like a 5 still allows plenty of room for stitching with 8".  The field of vision gets smaller as the diopter rises also, but still enough to see surrounding stitches.
So that's my lesson for the day.  Month really.  I don't have an good spot for the Dazor but will haul it down here for now (it is quite heavy) and still order the Brightech.  Why?  Because I don't like the imposition of the large Dazor stand in my small rooms.  Since I will be using the other brand most often, I want to make the right decision but JoAnn does not have a 5 for me to test.  Right now, it sounds like the best option since I would like to stitch on higher counts.

I hope what I've learned and posted here helps someone who is thinking about a mag light.  At 68, I feel foolish but also get excited when I learn something new.  Problem is, I won't remember it next month.


Jan 30, 2020


Hello stitching buds. 

 I am asking for your input and help in choosing a magnifying lamp.  Another flare up, and I have been struggling with 28 count while wearing 4.0 glasses.  Over two has become over one or three and I am running in place and getting nowhere fast.  
Many recommend the Brightech and I like the flexible arm model.  The 5 diopter, what I think would be best, requires the work to be held closer to the lens for clarity.  The 3 diopter at only 1.75x may not be enough even with my glasses if I want to use a 35 count.  Does anyone have the 5 (2.25x) and is it hard to stitch because of the proximity to the lens?   Or would the 1.75x be enough with my glasses?  I would appreciate your opinions!!  
Thank you.


Jan 27, 2020

A motif a day

keeps the slump away.  The larger vase by the tree, heart, a purple dog, a green dog, and a small stag (or unusual creature).  Hopefully I can continue this way so I don't feel overwhelmed.  My next decision is whether to move to the right or continue down the left.

I laid my book of floss bags in a plastic bin and it's like a Rolodex and easy to use since I am not moving it!  This bin is a perfect size for the Magma, floss, glasses, the large piece of linen, and everything else I need.  It's portable and accessible.  And when I throw the lid over, no curious cats can enter.

These new bags are a royal PITA to open which could just be my hand issue, but I came up with a solution.  By folding over a piece of tape on one side of the top, it makes it much easier.  The tape doesn't allow the plastic to stick together and I can slip my finger in to open.

I've been seeing different styles and types of thread catchers or whatever they are called.  Some are wool, others felt, and a few quilt batting.  Mounted to mat board or lined with soft fleece and foldable.  All great options.  

When using my sewing machine, the cut threads seem to be everywhere so I looked for something simple that could corral them.  Without gluing, sewing, or additional fabric, this small piece of felted wool was perfect.  Michael's and HL carry rolled pieces of this, some quite thick, and I cut small squares in various colors for the ironing board, sewing table, and stitching spot.

That's all I got!  Hope the last weekend of January was good.  Onward  to spring!


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