June 28, 2009

Almost July

It's nearly July, the month in which I've got a little self-challenge to stitch as many summery/beachy/patriotic themes as possible. How many can I do? I went to Fredericksburg yesterday to visit the LNS and pick up a chart I'd ordered, and on the way, stopped to take a picture of this bunting-bedecked Victorian. Very patriotic-looking. It's actually a local business--a florist operates out of there, so I've been inside, and it has a lot of nicely decorated rooms used as showrooms. [Edited to add: note the swing on the right-hand section of porch. What a perfect place to stitch and gaze at the garden!]
Here's the window of Everything Cross Stitch. I couldn't get all the pictures, plus there's a lot of reflection, so it's a little hard to see, but IRL it's a very pretty patriotic-themed window.

Here's my progress on "July." I have Friday off, so I should be able to finish by next weekend.

Then it will be on to this design: LHN's "Brave Hearts." I'm doing all of these on 40 ct, although while I was at the LNS, I picked up some 45 ct. And I took "America" to the framer yesterday; it should be back in 3 weeks. I bought a red frame with a blue mat--I will go with a similar approach on all of the patriotic pieces. I'm planning to hang them all in the kitchen which is all white cabinetry, white counters and stainless stuff--sort of looks like a laboratory or a morgue, so those colors should warm it up. I'm seriously considering leaving them up year-round. A former co-worker did gorgeous cross stitch Santa Clauses, and left them up year-round, and they looked just right, if quirky, even in the dead of summer.

I've ordered this. It's called "Flag Day," and it's by "With Thy Needle." Check out her website--she has other cute designs.

Peaches decided to go for a little jaunt on the side of the tub today; she's calculating the best way to get down. Happy week ahead--may things not be precarious, says Peaches!

June 21, 2009

I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy

I feel like stitching patriotic/summer themes (for my separate, also imaginary, patriotic themed sampler wall) around Independence Day. It's sort of a race to see how much I can get accomplished before the end of July. I started this on Friday evening, after tearing apart my stitching room looking for this Shepherd's Bush chart, which I knew I'd purchased from Ebay sometime last year. It came with the remnants of the original stitcher's fibers (mostly Silk 'n Colors), so I was able to use the ones I liked, and substituted other SnC from my stash when I ran short. I finished it yesterday--such a feeling of satisfaction to start and finish something all in one weekend, even if it is this tiny. SB's "Tiny Flag" stitched on 32 ct Lakeside Linen in lentil, stitched over 2 and also over one in the "America" line. I'm actually going to get it framed, because I like it so much. It calls for a charm to be attached on the blue field at top left, and I thought of looking for one when I was at the LNS yesterday, but decided to let it go. The suggested charm is a little pewter colored shield with "US" on it. Doesn't do anything for the design, I think, although I thought of subbing a gold or red star button.

That done, on to other things! I've started "July" from Prairie Schooler on 40 ct Ricamo linen and DMC from my stash. I'm missing just three colors, so I'll need to pick those up somewhere. I like PS designs, but I prefer them (and LH designs also) on a high count fabric or over one. It sharpens them, somehow. I didn't need to start in the upper left-hand corner of this, but I find myself doing it more and more because, like a lot of us, I prefer stitching top-down/left-right, and if you start in the center, a certain amount is always going to be up and right-left. I also subbed brighter colors of the red, since IRL the DMC colors were a little duller than the photo.

The question is...should it hang on my imaginary beach-and-maritime sampler themed wall, or on my imaginary patriotic sampler themed wall?

When I was at the LNS yesterday, I picked up this hilariously perfect chart. I pulled the called for fibers (GAST) and then subbed AVAS for them--I thought the GAST colors were a little subdued. I'm going to stitch it on 40 ct Ricamo also. It's called "If I Can't Stitch," by The Sunflower Seed.

I spent a good bit of time on Christinia as well. I had a small disappointment when one page of the chart disappeared--page 1 (of 12), where I had about 15 lines of stitching to go, but those lines started a new part of the design that wasn't readily readable either from other pages or from the tiny photo of this sampler on the cover. I had been stitching on the bus, and realized that my stop was coming up quickly, so I stuffed everything in my bag, and it must not have made it off the bus with me. Bummer. I felt bad about it--I pictured it shouting to me in a tiny voice as I went down the aisle--"waaaaiiit....come back!" Someone at the bus company probably picked it up and threw it in the trash when they cleaned out the bus overnight. Deciding it was gone for good, I ordered the whole darned thing over again from Homespun Samplar. Fortunately, it's not an expensive chart, and it's still in stock, and I got to discover a couple of new designs that jumped into my cart when I ordered Christinia. Note to self: make a working copy, Dummy! This is page two. When the chart comes in the mail, I'll finish page one.

Here's a two-fer of dandies saying happy Father's Day, happy week ahead, and always check the seat before you get off the bus!

June 14, 2009

Color My World

I love the colors in Christinia. They're bright enough to put out your eye. The designer says the original is like this--that it's common for Scottish samplers of the time to use these bright colors. I got some more done this week. Definitely you can't be gloomy while working on it.

I worked on Product of My Needle also--lots of black and yellow. Also a bright sampler.

There's been some talk among needleworkers about getting out their WIP "Bay Samplers." Here's mine. I'm not sure why I set it aside, especially since it uses--yikes--18 different skeins of Silk n Colors, a commodity that has performed better than most stocks, and much better than real estate. It's roughly doubled in price the three or four years since I started the project. I don't dislike the design, although I'm not in love with the fabric. I'm forgetting what I'm using, but it has a muddy mottling that I'm not fond of. And the design's a little too...what? Rudimentary? It's almost as if there was a lot of effort put into the ship and the flags and the rigging and the seven sailors, and then a bunch of other elements were sort of plopped in there. I particularly dislike the mermaid (not shown here) shaped like a kazoo, and also the kazoo-shaped purple-striped fish. But I'm going to finish the darned thing, because it has cute aspects, and the silk is so darned nice, and in my head (only) I have a sampler wall devoted to maritime and beach themes.

Once again, the soundtrack in my head began running when I thought about all the colorful samplers I'm working on these days. "Color My World" was my high school prom's theme (and probably Chicago's worst and sappiest song). What was our other song? Michael Jackson, singing "Ben" I think. Hah! A prom with a rat theme would have been perfect. I didn't go to the prom; it wasn't cool to go to the prom in those days and one certainly didn't DANCE--hard to believe in these days of over the top proms: revealing gowns (in our day prom gowns were pink or blue and long and not form fitting. The sleeves might have been see-through, but the bodice wouldn't have been. We looked more like Doris Day than Beyonce.) I can see my parents' faces if I'd asked for money to rent a hummer limo, and none of us had our own cars either. If you were lucky and old enough, you could borrow the family car; otherwise, someone's mom would drive you to the prom. Anyway, my boyfriend and I skipped the prom and went to the beach and parked in his car. This was his car. My parents disliked him for that car, and also because he had long hair, and they believed he had only one thing on his mind. Ahem. They were right about that of course.

Yesterday when I went to the store, on the way home I passed no fewer than 20 houses in my neighborhood with graduation balloons and parties in progress. Apparently the local high school graduation was yesterday. My next door neighbor hosted a graduation party for their son. We have met the son's girlfriend, who came to our back door at 12:30 a.m. one night, and stealthily tried to enter our house, thinking she was next door. She was surprised when we answered the door (we knew he was hosting a little party while his parents were out of town because we saw the kids sneaking across the back lawn so the neighbors wouldn't notice). We thought it might be fun to stock the end table down there with brochures on contraception and health warnings about STDs for future visits. His parents think he's an angel, of course. They hosted the party yesterday, so we didn't have to pick the beer cans off our lawn this time.

Man, I miss bench seats. I think we can pinpoint the end of civilization at the point that bucket seats were introduced.

Car photos borrowed from Allpar.com.
Mom, can I borrow the car? Sure, Peachy--be home by ten.

I'm off to make Ina's pastitsio. Happy week ahead!

June 07, 2009

Sugar Magnolia

Yesterday I went to the farmer's market for veggies, and paid a visit to the little Masonic cemetery nearby. It's in a little brick-walled area behind some modern buildings, and it's very old. Many of the headstones are cracked or rubbed smooth by the weather. It's cool and mossy and green inside. Most of the graves date to the early-mid-1800s. Pre-civil war. The local Civil War dead are in some larger cemeteries nearby, including a bunch of the Green Mountain Volunteers, 600 miles from Vermont, who are spinning in their graves as Walmart tries to build yet another store on--or too close to--a Civil War battlefield.

I spied this pair of gravestones: "My Mother's Grave" and "My Father's Grave." I looked around for "My Grave" but didn't see it. I'm sure it wasn't meant to be humorous; probably the person who purchased the stones couldn't afford individual carving. Interesting that you could get a generic gravestone then. I work with someone whose dad has a monument business; now all the carving is done with machines, and it's all set up on a computer screen. Photographs of the departed can be screened onto the stones. I like the old way better; it's hard to imagine a photo of someone wearing their favorite Grateful Dead tee shirt weathering gracefully and looking anything but odd in 200 years. A lot of the headstones in the cemetery had willow imagery and carvings of weeping women that looked a lot like the samplers we do. There are some things computers just don't improve, unless it's just the bottom line. I wonder if you could get a hand-carved stone if you tried.

There was a large magnolia tree in the cemetery. I have no idea if it's a sugar magnolia, but the song just popped into my head while I was looking at it. So comforting to have a dumb soundtrack to accompany everything I do; I suppose it's a function of age.

I finished the "Z" on Alphabetissimo, and now I move on. Most of the remaining letters and motifs are smaller, so it will feel as if I am picking up speed, even if I'm not. I worked some more on Christinia, but not enough to show.

I'm kitting "Betsy" up. My LNS only had a few of the NPI silks I needed, so I sent an email to Jan at Only One Ewe Needlework, she responded immediately, pulled the fibers I needed (psst--on sale!) and popped them in the mail to me the same afternoon, along with a CC skein I was missing to kit up Country Cottage's "She Sells Seashells." Wonderful--thanks so much, Jan! I'd love to start this before 4th of July, although I can only say that I might be done by NEXT Independence day. Jan has also done the conversion to NPI for the Mary Wigham Ackworth Quaker sampler. I remain on the fence about that sampler. I love how it looks, and it would be fun to join the stitch-along, but I've got so many other things going or in the wings...

Here's my sugar magnolia, looking stern. Pink: "You'd better get back to your homework or that "Z" will be the grade you get!"

Happy week!

June 05, 2009

Pucker Up

A little Friday evening post. First of all, thank you for your well wishes for Yazziebear. She's home with us now with the best possible diagnosis. She has extreme hyperthyroidism, which could have caused her problems, or at least augmented a bacterial or viral infection. She went to a specialist for a sonogram who said she doesn't appear to have cancer. Now it's just a matter of treating her with pills or, should the pills be burdensome, having her treated with radioisotope iodine (same thing they do for humans), after which she becomes briefly radioactive. Yazziebear: "I always knew I was hot!"

We took her to the specialist yesterday and there was a lot of waiting, so I got a lot done on Christinia.

The puckery-looking eyelet stitch is slow going, but a blast to do. They look like little silk-lined bullet holes. Or puckered lips.

It has rained for a solid week here, but it's supposed to be nice tomorrow and Sunday. I have some more planting to do; here's a raspberry bush that I bought. No doubt the birds will eat the berries before we do, but it's fun to think about maybe making raspberry jam from our own bushes.

Here's Pink with a little kiss for you. "Pucker up!"

I'm off to tidy up a few things and then settle onto the bed with a most grateful to be home Yazziebear and my stitching. Happy weekend, all!

June 02, 2009


I was reading blogs today at work and came across Tanya's wish for a sampler that's a little less pastel. Coincidentally, I started one. This is not the greatest photo--I didn't get home until 8 tonight, so the light was going. It's Christinia Cathcart, and what I love about it is the vivid colors. (Christinia Cathcart is by The Samplar Workes and is being stitched on 34 ct Oaten Scone Legacy Linen with the recommended AVAS threads.) Note to Tanya though: there are 56 of these strawberries on the border...

I'm thinking Christinia and Dorothy can hang out together once they're finished and framed--BFFs in the living room. Their colors are complementary. Hard to tell from the photos--this weekend I'll try shooting them together--that the colors of the fabric are very similar. Actually, I need to take another photo of Dorothy, as I've done some more work on it. I'm fighting the realization that I have to stitch most of the motifs again on the other side, which is the drawback of symmetry, isn't it--two of everything!?) I truly appreciated your suggestions and support on the matter of my being stuck in the middle of several projects; I'm going to try Connie's suggestion of using two threads on 1763; I'm going to go without the green queen stitches and pull out the three that I put in on Tulips, and I will eventually restitch Janet Gibson, but not just yet. And thanks, Anna; I'm mixing up a batch of garlic juice and cayenne and other ingredients to save my little garden, although the beasts seem to have moved on, at least temporarily.

This is Yazziebear, who's a sick kitty tonight. BF took her to the vet; she was very sick in a bloody way. We were convinced that she has stomach cancer (she's 15--not that old for a Siamese, who routinely live into their 20s--but she's been losing weight steadily over the last few months). The vet is thinking it's pancreatitis, which she's had before, coupled with a bacterial infection and perhaps a thyroid thing. We're hoping it's that. She was one of our first adoptees, and she's the fierce alpha cat of the house; no one messes with her--not even Pink, who's the alpha rabbit. She's a talker; I miss her sitting at my feet, chirping companionably.

Thunderstorm's coming, so off I go to do a few things in case we lose power.