August 28, 2011


There's no hell quite like being the person in the household who nixed the purchase of a whole-house generator while the power is out and the house is heating up and getting unpleasantly sticky. Fortunately, the power, which we lost around midnight last night, is back as of an hour ago, and the A/C is back on and the fridge is humming away. And also fortunately, the same person who nixed the generator, agreed that a water-powered backup sump was a good (and cost-effective) thing, so the basement did not fill up with water even when the electric sump stopped.

We woke up to this today. My neighbor lost one of his bradford pears (we lost one a couple of thunderstorms ago). The pears grow quickly, so they're much loved in suburbia, but they have a heavy canopy and soft wood, so as the saying goes: there are two kinds of bradford pears--the ones that have split and the ones that are about to split.

Tree One to Tree Two: "Let's split."

The weather made me think of my progress on the April Snow Person by Amy Bruecken Designs. This is Lilybell ("Lillybell plays in the rain.")

Here's what Lillybell and her duck look like (she came with a bead and treasures pack):

Because they're cute and whimsical, I've been acquiring all of them. July and August have come out since I purchased this, but my latest is "Robin Beth Rocks a Ruffle." I'll be stitching it on 32 count Lakeside Vintage Lemon Ice (seen to the right of the chart) with the charted Gentle Art, Crescent Colors and WDW overdyed threads.

But mostly I've been stitching on Liz Easdon.

I've eased down onto the lawn and am preparing to stitch the over-one critters. A closeup of the house--looks like the tree on the right has some storm damage.

Here's Elvis, chewing hay this morning. Elvis: "Thank goodness the air conditioning is on because my hair gets frizzy in the humidity."

Happy week ahead, and best of luck to all of you who are about to encounter Irene!

August 21, 2011

Full House

Hi, everyone!

My banner photo is a little something I ran across when I was looking through my stash for the bag of floss for Dorothy Walpole. I haven't been able to work on Dorothy for a few months since it disappeared. My stash room is in serious disarray, so I took some time to straighten and look through my stuff, and this little gem appeared. I probably stitched it something like 25 years ago, and yes, that's cream colored 14 count aida and DMC. My initials are different now--I shed that "T"--but it's an argument for signing and dating our works, since I'd love to know what year I finished it. Who knows where the chart came from, although I suspect I stitched it from a magazine. All the same, I think I'll take it to In Stitches to frame. It's not as if I finish that many things! All of which leads me to muse on the Woodlawn show coming up in March. Framing is due for that in mid-January, so I've decided that maybe if I set a goal of entering one project (preferably two) in the show, maybe I can finish a couple of things before the year is out. (Let's not talk about the Crazy 15 challenge, shall we?)

My two would be: The Essamplaire's Liz Easdon and Scarlet Letter's Dorothy Walpole. As you can see, I found Dorothy's floss and made some progress working on the flame stitch, the strawberry border and the flowers beneath the flame stitch.

Here she is in her entirety so far (forgive the crookedness and the wrinkles; I try to limit my ironing of projects--too many horrible things can happen):

And here's Liz Easdon with her house complete. There's lots more to stitch, of course. While she'd be easier to finish than Dorothy, there's an awful lot of green in this sampler. Visually it's lovely, but it does get tiresome to work look at as I stitch.

All this dedication to finishing a couple of things means I'm going to have to cut down on new starts, though. Hmmmmm. That's going to be tough, especially since I picked up a couple of new projects at Market Night, including this needlepoint canvas. Something about it spoke to me, you know? (And we won't mention the brand-new Scarlet Letter chart I've ordered...)

"Ahem. You are going to stitch a yellow rabbit?"

Happy week ahead!

August 13, 2011

Newport Antiques Show

It has been a long and full day! The alarm clock rang at 3:45 this a.m., and I gathered up my suitcase, my computer and my needlework (only three projects with me, since I am flying on this visit--man, it was hard to choose just 3 (Blue Santa, Liz Easdon and Adam's Menagerie). And if I had it to do over again, I'd have chosen one of my Rhode Island samplers, because I'm that inspired. The plane left Baltimore at 8:15 and landed in Providence at 9:45, I collected the rental car and headed to Newport. Lots and lots of people traveled with me today: even at 6:30 a.m. there were enormous lines for security, check-in and then on the road to Newport. Newport itself was crammed full of people. After driving around for quite a while looking for the antiques show (boo to mapquest but yay to the guy I nearly mowed down in a crosswalk to ask for directions and boo to me for being too cheap to rent the GPS. I mean really, Avis--$15 a day?)

But I found it, and my oh my, is all I can say. My only disappointment was that I need to learn to read: the online brochure said that highlights from the 50 samplers would be exhibited, not all 50, so I was expecting more than the 15 or so that I viewed. What wonderful choices they were though! And they were accessible; I was able to get up close and see every stitch, my nose 1 inch from the glass that encased them (but didn't spoil the experience at all). The lighting was very good and everyone was cheerful and kind. However, I didn't take photos, although there were no admonishments anywhere that I could see not to. But it just felt wrong to click away, even if surreptitiously, especially since most museums don't allow it.

I will show you the little catalog though (itself gorgeously photographed):

Do you own the Mary Tillinghast chart? I do; it was a reproduction done by Sheepish Designs in possibly the 80s? 90s? I bought it on ebay. Now I want to kit it up after seeing the original. Although--the "Wisdom" sampler charted by Vermillion Stitchery is virtually the same, and I started it some time ago. There were some nice marking samplers and a few samplers we'd all recognize, but a few that I did not (including the one in the catalog page above).

And oh, my goodness, the dealers. I've been to many an antique show, far and wide, including the famous (Brimfield) and the not-so-famous local run-of-the-mill, and the offerings here knocked my socks off. Pretty much everything I saw was museum quality, as far as I could tell. Some of my favorites: the stitched wool pictures of ships done by sailors; the sailors' valentines using tiny exotic shells to make pictures that looked like samplers, some needle punch, rugs, china and a few samplers. One sampler wowed me--it was probably the nicest antique I've laid eyes on anywhere in terms of quality, color, composition and condition. (It was $8500, which I thought was completely justified. It was perfectly stitched, and the best part was the Adam and Eve figures, which looked a lot like American Indians. One of them appared to be waving.) My very favorite non-stitched objects were the oil paintings brought by William Vareika Fine Arts.

By early afternoon I was tired and hungry and so I headed to the Cape. On the way I stopped and devoured this sub: the "baked stuffed lobster." The crumb topping is graham cracker/butter/lemon rather than Ritz crackers, though, which is my only complaint--it was a bit too sweet, especially since the generous portion of lobster had enough sweetness of its own. It was nearly my downfall on this long, hot, busy day.

I then sat in traffic for quite a while. Tomorrow is the Falmouth Road Race, which attracts tens of thousands of additional visitors to this small town, on top of the already busy late-summer tourism.

Digging their dinner: these folks are digging clams. While the town checks the bacterial count of that water regularly, I would not be interested in eating these guys raw (and I love raw shellfish).

We went out for fried fish tonight, and I sat in the fish place, which was hot and filled with the smell of fish and oil. As I sat there, I noticed a large sailboat bobbing up and down on the wake of the boats coming and going. As I watched, the heat and the smell and my rich lobster lunch and my fatigue combined with the pitching of the boat to create a full-on queasy feeling of stomach-rolling, sweaty seasickness. Please don't let me be sick, I was thinking desperately. Fortunately our order came quickly, and to my parents' surprise, I insisted on eating at home instead of sitting at the harbor, and I rode home with the window down and the cool breeze in my face. And oh heavens, my paernts are in their 80s and therefore always chilly, even though the house is a toasty 80 or so. In fact, hilariously, my mother has just brought me a stack of blankets in case it gets chilly. Please let it get chilly.

My mother has a little outside rabbit guy that she feeds. My dad tells me that these are Canadian cottontails, which unlike my neighborhood's wild bunnies, have long pointy noses, smallish ears and smaller back legs--they don't spring so much as sprint or tear along when startled.

To borrow Michelle's gratitude: I am grateful for an opportunity to view beautiful historic samplers and priceless art. And I am also grateful for not having hurled in the harbor!

Happy week ahead!

August 07, 2011

The Pompatus of Love

Greetings, all! It's a hot and occasionally thundery Sunday in the Old Dominion.

Because it's been a busy week, I didn't get to stitch a lot, although I made some progress on the house in Elizabeth Easdon.

Because I sensed that you all were probably tired of seeing the house in Elizabeth Easdon, here's something new that I started after spying this new chart at In Stitches on Stitch Night. This is the cutest design, by Tempting Tangles, called "Adam's Menagerie."

I've started it twice now--the first time on a green Lakeside (River Willow) using the called-for DMC (and the recommended fabric is Wichelt Beach Walk linen in 32 count, which is a very pretty pale gray-green. The shop had it, but I like to stitch on 40 count, so I substituted.) Unfortunately, the River Willow was a bit bold and the DMC colors were a bit shy, so today when I worked at the shop I did a conversion to NPI on LL Light Examplar (40 count). Perfection.

A woman came into the shop this afternoon to order Tempting Tangles "Creation." Have you seen it? I've got that on order too; I'm wondering if it might be something that would lend itself to a super large-count fabric with lots of sparkle and bling. I'm picturing flocks of beads, lots of Kreinik. Maybe a 30 or 32 count crystal PTP? Over the top perhaps? I'm really enjoying this designer. And I've provided my conversion for Adam's Menagerie below.

Elvis says hello. "Some call me the gangster of love."

Oh, and I'm having trouble leaving comments on some blogs, which make me sign in again and again and never record my comment. Fab Furs, yours is one that won't let me comment, although I read all the time!

Happy week ahead, and scroll down if you want the conversion.

(DMC to NPI)--*bear in mind, you and I may process color differently and you may not like my choices. If in doubt, I tweak the color up a notch in intensity, but in the case of this chart, I have tried to stay true to the designer's choices.

B5200--991BB; 310-993; 422-693; 502-515; 503-524; 504-511; 612-901; 642-351; 644-981; 677-131; 680-474; 869-973; 924-566; 926-563; 928-876; 3031-953; 3041-781; 3042-604; 3064-206; 3787-964; 3830-635