Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Assessing July Goals

  • July Goals:
  • BAPs: Continue work on TWs Woodland Angel Christmas Stocking.  I am posting this in purple since have finally pulled this out again and have made some progress though not enough to warrant a blue post but more than enough for a red post.  I may have to concentrate on this exclusively for a while if I am to have any hope of finishing it in time for this Christmas.
  • Class Projects Challenge: Continue work on Mystic Smalls.  Nothing done on this group.
  • New Start: Finish Plum Street Sampler's Be True.  Oh, I am very close!
  • Sewing & Assembly Finishes: do three.  Not a one.
  • Town Square SAL: Finish The Cross Stitch Shop and stitch The Framing Shop.   Again, nothing.
  • UFOs: Resume work on The English Band Sampler.  Well, it is back in the current stitching bag.  So I guess that counts as resuming, though I have managed only an hour's stitching on the piece.
                   Off-goal stitching:  
                   Needlepoint: Continue work on Rice Pudding.  Have made considerable progress on this                       piece this month.
                   Halloween stitching: nearly finished Prairie Schooler's BOO!

                   Though I haven't made spectacular progress on any of my rotation pieces, I am simply happy to be stitching again after my seven week dry spell.  You might say I am easing my way back into my  usual routines.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Small Giveaway

Anyone who has been reading this blog for the past few weeks knows that my main project for my stay-cation is de-cluttering my home.  But, before I broke for summer recess, I did a bit of de-cluttering at work.

The building in which I have my offices and hold my classes used to be the parish school.  When the parish school closed its doors in 2008, rather than take the time and trouble to clean out the building properly, the principal and staff of the school just dumped everything they couldn't give away in the old computer room.  I am trying to empty it out and fit it up to be used as a small meeting room or extra classroom.  

 One of my finds as I went through all sorts of dusty shelves, bins and boxes, were these rather nice plastic templates which I thought might come in handy for ornament making in various shapes: oval, round, square, rectangle, triangle and diamond.  I kept a few for myself and will offer two stitchers chosen at random from the comments below the remaining templates.  If you think these templates would help in your own ornament finishing, just leave a comment about the type of ornaments you like to make: Christmas, Halloween, patriotic, Valentine's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving or other.  I
tend to make ornaments for most seasons as I like to keep my wrought iron ornament tree on display in my entry hall year round.  And I anticipate using these templates to give a bit of variety to my ornament finishing.  Even if I need the shapes to be  a bit larger, I can always trace them out and blow them up using the enlarging feature on the photocopier and still have perfectly formed shapes with clean lines.  I haven't quite managed to build up an adequate collection yet for Easter, St. Patrick's Day, Valentine's Day, and summertime in general.  I have a fair amount of patriotic ornaments, though I could use a few more.  And I have more than enough Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween ornaments to fill the tree.

I'll make a selection and post the two winners on August 4th.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Car Stitching

I am going to be in the car for a 3 hour round trip rather soon and have been looking through my stash for something suitable to stitch in a moving car.

My criteria for the project:
  1. although I usually stitch on 36 or 40ct linen, car stitching has to be done on 28ct
  2. a limited palette, no more than five colors
  3. no blended needles or fussy specialty fibers
  4. a fairly simple design or a design with a border that has an established repeat for mindless stitching
  5. small enough to fit in an 8"  spring tension hoop for easy handling

So far I have come up with these possibilities:

This is Pineberry Lane's Mehitabel's Redwork Sampler.  Only one color, relatively simple in design and it calls for 28ct linen.

One of last year's JCS Halloween ornaments, this is meant to be stitched on a 40 ct ivory  linen but it meets the 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th of my requirements

This relatively simple blackwork design would work nicely with the above criteria.  It would also help to satisfy one of my annual goals to stitch a few more hearts for my anniversary and valentine's day tree.

Another heart design, a French style free chart, would also work though the word I would stitch would be Amour.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Ladies Who Lunch

Well, not really!  But since Liz and I both work in the educational field we each get a minimum of 4 weeks off during the summer.  I celebrated my first day off by inviting Liz to join me for lunch at a favorite restaurant of mine, Lynch's here in North Rockland.  The food is always good, the standard is excellent.  Granted the dinner menu is more imaginative than the luncheon menu, but the starters are the same on both.
The Irish nachos are a messy must for any meal at Lynch's: baked potato skins topped with shredded corned beef, melted Irish cheddar cheese and a nice vinegary sauerkraut.  It's definitely, a high calorie treat best shared with a friend or two or three.  I am afraid we only managed to eat half of it between the two of us.  For our luncheon entree we both had the open face Reuben and for dessert cheese cake and tea.

Next door to the restaurant is a consignment shop.  Since Liz had never been in there, we dropped in to look around.
I try to stop in a least once a month or so to see what they have.  Most of the shop is devoted to women's clothing, shoes and handbags but there is a small section devoted to small furniture like accent tables and curio cabinets, to china and crystal and to high end costume jewelry.   The jewelry is a good source of embellishments for my needlework and every so often I find a nice piece of crystal, china or silver.  Liz found a lovely teapot to send to her sister for a birthday gift and I found this darling little doll's Blue Willow tea set from Japan that will make my granddaughter Piper a very happy little girl.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

And now back to our regularly scheduled program ...

What little stitching I have been doing has been on Plum Street Sampler's Be True.  Though I have been checking my counts very carefully as I complete the rice stitch part of the border, I still haven't found the spot where I miscounted by one thread.  So, I haven't needed to frog quite yet.  That necessity remains a future delight.  I am including a progress shot just to prove I haven't completely ceased to stitch.  I am well aware that my record these past few months has not been particularly impressive and am anxious to prove that I am stitching.  Really, I am!

I also want to get back to some finishing.  I have cut the boards for the front and back of the needle case from the Stitcher's Hideaway and I have been browsing through fabric to convert some other finishes into totes.  And, then there are all those old jeans that need to be reduced to strips for braiding into a rug.  I anticipate a busy weekend.  Please forgive the dark photo, it was still quite overcast this morning/

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Good Book but a Strange Read

I have been doing very little stitching these past four days since I have been absorbed in a lengthy novel by Nelson DeMille, The Lion Game.  As a New Yorker, who lost friends and neighbors in the Twin Tower disaster on 9/11/01, this was a strange experience.  I will be forever grateful that my youngest son's summer job, which placed him within a block of the disaster, ended two weeks before 9/11.  Otherwise, he would have been coming out of the subway onto that very street at the time of  the collapse.  The novel, published in 2000, dealt with Mideastern terrorists and made frequent reference to the then standing towers.

The novel was fascinating but reading it took on something of a Twilight Zone atmosphere because I knew what came next in the real world.  Cynical soul that I am, I fear that in the real world of anti-terrorism agencies, there is even less cooperation and even more territorialism than the book depicts.  In the book, turf wars seem to take precedence over human lives with the predictable result of even more lives lost.  I suspect if the average citizen really knew what went on behind the closed doors of the CIA, the FBI and Homeland Security, we'd all be appalled at the flaws in the system meant to protect us and amazed at our sheer dumb luck in not having suffered even more at the hands of terrorists.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Day Camp

On a board that I frequent, there was a discussion of day camps with some ladies saying they would enjoy their children's programs.  But then some of us started fantasizing about the perfect adult day camp.

Personally, my ideal adult day camp would be at a luxury resort from the turn of the last century where I could enjoy wide verandas with cushioned wicker chairs [for stitching], afternoon tea served daily, a ragtime piano bar in the evenings. And boating, swimming, lawn tennis and croquet to fill in the time in between. Oh, and beautiful gardens for strolling would be an absolute must. I am thinking The Sagamore Hotel Bolton's Landing, Lake George, NY, in its heydey.  Eva put in a vote for The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island which, if I recall correctly, is where the movie Somewhere in Time was filmed.

I'd even go so far as to wear long white dresses and wide brimmed hats though I admit I would be very relaxed about lacing the corset.  My name isn't Scarlett, after all!

What would your perfect adult day camp look like and what would be on the program?  

I'll close with a photo or two from the Sagamore where I enjoyed a long weekend in the off-season at prices closer to my budget.

Stitching on the veranda, overlooking Lake George
The view from the veranda

A shot of the veranda and the terraces leading down to the grand lawn.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


For the very first time in nearly two years, I have a totally empty inbox.  I finished up all current work yesterday.  All I have left on my plate is long-range projects with deadlines in September, November and March and a few little tasks that require the contribution of others before I can close the files.  It is an exhilarating experience!  All the more so since I have no clue as to when it will occur again.  And with only 5 work days left till my  4 week summer vacation, the timing is fortuitous.   It will be nice to leave the office with an absolutely clean desk and no unfinished paperwork lurking under the dust cover.

I will be praying for a break in the heat wave though since the bulk of my vacation will be spent on the decluttering project I mentioned a few posts ago.  My husband has already filled 11 tall kitchen trash bags with shredded documents no longer needed and I have been working on closets.  So far I have gone through the linen closet and half of the kitchen cabinets.  But there is still so much more to do.   At least, the worst offender, the large walk in closet in the bedroom, is in a room with air-conditioning.  Don't feel too badly for us though: as Senior Citizens, we have free membership in the town pool and will be able to spend our afternoons cooling off in the pool and picnicking under the trees beside the Hudson River whenever we are so inclined.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Summer Doldrums

I have noticed that many of the blogs I read are being updated less frequently and that a stitching message board to which I subscribe has far fewer daily posts.  I think we are all feeling the effects of the heat waves that are blanketing the US.  

Here in the Northeast we are suffering with high 90s in both temperature and humidity, making for wretched days.  I should really look up the inventor of the air conditioner and sing songs of praise to his/her name.  I remember that my grandmother would set a bowl of ice cubes in front of an oscillating fan to cool a room when I was a child way back in the 1950s.  I once mentioned this to the children in my program and they looked at me as if I had just told them I had sailed on the ark with Noah.  I mean, they clearly knew I was ancient, but WOW, that's really ancient!

The good thing is that my zucchini and patty pan squash plants look they are taking steroids.  The plants are huge and a single leaf is considerably larger than a dinner plate.  The blossoms alone are larger than an 8oz water goblet.   I am looking forward to fresh from the garden squash.  The carrots are taking forever to mature to even the size of baby carrots and the peas were a bit of a disappointment.  I believe I planted them too late and they blossomed in warm weather rather than cool.  I'll be planting some more and hoping for a late September-early October crop.  The herb garden is thriving with plenty of chives, parsley and basil.  And even the miniature Christmas tree that I bought two years ago and repotted as an outdoor plant is doing nicely.  Now if I could just get the weeds to stop growing as quickly as the good stuff.  It's way too hot to be bending and pulling weeds that are growing through the decorative gravel that was supposed to solve that whole issue.  And all this humidity is doing a number on my arthritis, so bending is not really on my to-do list at the moment.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Rice Pudding

Not the dessert, though I will admit to loving a creamy home-made rice pudding.  I consider it one of the ultimate comfort foods,

No, this Rice Pudding is the counted canvas design by DebBee's Designs and I am loving it.  I am delighted by all the variations of the rice stitch Debbie has included in the project.  It is not a piece that travels well so I have made it my at home stitching.  My only problem is that the high pollen counts have really irritated my eyes, which are aching and watering profusely, making stitching somewhat problematic.  Still, progress is being made.

I have been working on it, on and off, all weekend.  Here's are some before and after shots.

Clearly this is the before shot, taken July 9 and showing only two variations of the rice stitch: the standard single arm cross and the somewhat more complex double arm cross.

Since then, I have added a slimmer rice stitch, 2 threads wide but 4 threads tall with a single arm cross.  And I have begun work on another double arm cross rice that will have a vertical cross at the center in a contrasting color.  This last is rather time-consuming since it is somewhat difficult to find the canvas threads where I need to place the vertical cross as the background rice stitch covers the canvas so well.  You can also see the mirror image effect coming into play as I have started working the right side of the design.

I am also including a close-up shot of the various different versions of the rice stitch so you can see just why I am so pleased with the piece.  It's amazing how much variety can be drawn out of one very basic stitch.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Accepting a Challenge

Stitch Bitch has offered a challenge: take a specific freebie and make it your own, in execution and finishing. Normally, I don't rise to such challenges since I have way too many unstitched charts of my own choosing filling my "to do" basket and binders.  But this particular freebie, Be True by Plum Street Samplers, appealed to me.   Also, after stitching almost exclusively on UFOs from January through April, I was so ready for a new start.   I got this little bit done in late May and the very first few days of June.  I am still not sure I am going to enter the piece in Anna's competition ... there are a number of errors that need frogging and fixing before it is contest ready: a miscount of one damnable thread in the border, as yet unfound, and some miscounts in centering the added text.  But it has been fun making this design my own.

Excuse the poor photo.  The weather is overcast today.

What I have done is:
Changed the color scheme, replacing the DMC with Belle Soie as follows: 310 with Noir, 3051 with Beanstalk, 223 with Apricot, 221 with Terra Cotta, and Ecru with Oatmeal Scone.  I tend to like autumn color ways much better than pink ones.
Added the remainder of the quote from Polonius' speech in Hamlet.
Designed a border of rice stitch in Terra Cotta and Apricot interspersed with satin stitches  in Beanstalk and outlined with backstitch in Noir, thereby incorporating most of the colors in the design proper.  I am hoping to locate the counting error as I add the tiny crosses in the rice stitches and I am really hoping it won't involve too much frogging when I find it.

I still haven't decided on just how I'll finish it: bell pull, tote bag or pillow.  I am leaning toward a bell pull finish if I can find the right hardware in my stash.  I'll have to check on the widths of the bell pull rods in the bottom drawer of my sewing center.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mid-Year Assessment - Just a few days late

Every year, at the end of June, I assess my progress on my annual goals.  Most years this is a salutary experience.  This year, not so much!  

So let's take a look at the 2013 goals and my progress thus far:

  • 01. My Own Crazy Challenge: work on unfinished class pieces from 2005-date.  I have worked on the Mystic Seaport Stitcher's Hideaway Projects but have not yet finished them.
  • 02. Complete three BAPs: TW's Woodland Angel Stocking for Liam and The Woodland Maiden Stocking for Piper.    I have worked on Liam's stocking, though not nearly as often as I should have.  Piper's stocking will have to wait till next year since I'll be lucky if I finish Liam's this year.
  • 03. Limit new starts to one for every two UFO/WIPs completed.  My new starts currently outnumber my finishes.
  • 04. Stitch a few more Heart ornaments for the Anniversary-Valentine's Day tree.  Not yet.
  • 05. Stitch one ornament a month from the 2006 Indy Town Square SAL.  So far only one finish.
  • 06. Limit stash purchases to fabric, fiber and tools needed to complete charts on hand.  I have already bought two charts this year and am planning on ordering three more that aren't even on my current wish list sidebar.
  • 07. Continue to blog regularly, aiming for every other day.  With no posts at all in May and only five posts in June, this is pretty much a wash out.
  • 08. Make an effort to catch up on sewing and framing finishes.  Seventeen finishes thus far.  There are still many more awaiting my attention but this is a good start.
  • 09. Inventory and declutter existing stash.  Not yet.
  • 10. Change EGA membership.  Not yet.

     Lot's more red than blue, so not an overwhelming success so far.  But the year is not over and hope springs eternal.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


We are in the process of de-clutterring our home, a closet at a time, a room at a time ... with my husband and I working in different areas so as to avoid a nasty divorce.  After 42 years, it would be a shame to come to blows over what is worth keeping and what is not.  I am working with household stuff for the most part and he is working with two filing cabinets filled with papers accumulated over 33 years in this house.  We each have our area of expertise and we each are sticking to our areas, with just the occasional consultation.  I must say he is keeping the shredder busier than the Nixon White House.  The recycling collectors are going to just love us.

 While working in the spare bedroom, I came across a box of old jeans that I had put aside because I had this ambitious idea of making a braided rag rug from old denim strips.  Like most of my ambitious ideas, this one pretty much stopped at the gathering stage.  I decided to get some of the preliminary work done, tearing the denim into approximately 2" wide strips.  Well, I wound the strips I have torn into a very dense and heavy ball, currently about the size of a soccer ball, but weighing quite a bit more.  As you can see it fills the basket in which I am storing it.  Since I still have about 20 pairs of jeans to tear up before sewing the strips together, I'll be start winding another ball.

I think I'd like to prep all this stuff during the summer and save the actual braiding for the winter.    The braiding would be a nice repetitive task to do while watching TV after a hard day's work, not too terribly taxing for my weary brain.  I am hoping to get a small area rug out of this: maybe a circular rug with a 4 foot diameter.  But until I start the actual braiding, I have no idea how much "shrinkage" there'll be.  I may have to hit the thrift shops for some more old jeans.

I wonder how many other old projects I will discover as I dig through the clutter.  I wonder how much I'll discard and how much I will keep.  Getting rid of the housewares will be easy enough.  My church has two annual white elephant sales, run by our Men's Club.  And I have an empty storage closet here in the school building.  I am bringing my "donations" to work and storing them in the closet till the Fall sale.  So far, I have brought tons of Tupperware, no longer needed by our much smaller family; dozens of mugs [everybody always gives teachers mugs, lotions or candles].  I have got to be careful when donating things students have given me - the items have to be old enough so that the students are already long gone from the program and won't have their feelings hurt.  Clothing and quality housewares can go to the consignment shop.  Books can go to the library.  When I finally uncover my husband's old stamp collections and my old coin collections, I shall see about turning them into cash.  For almost two decades [70's and 80's] Bill collected plate blocks and the First Day Covers [envelopes with new stamps, postmarked at their post office of origin/first release] and a complete set of postcards First Day Covers as well for that period.  I am figuring a little Internet research might help us realize a small profit.  I don't know what I'll do with old tools and fishing gear that Bill no longer wants or needs: probably the Men's Club sale for that as well.  It's interesting going through all the stuff.  When I run across some of my children's favorite books or those special toys, I send them on to my grandchildren with stories of how their Daddy or Uncle Dan or Aunt Ange used to enjoy the items.  It's kind of a family history deal.  Some heirlooms will be passed on to my children while I can still enjoy seeing them enjoy the items [why do people wait until they are dead and gone to pass things on?]  Oh, well, it's a nice summer project ... sort of like an archeological dig of Bill and my married life.  Somehow excavation sounds so much more dignified and upscale than de-cluttering.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Lengthy & Overdue Post

In one of the last of my pre-disappearance posts, back in April, I said I'd post photos on Wednesday ... I  just didn't say which Wednesday.  In religion class, I would call that a lie of omission..  Now, I don't lie as a general rule.  But, somehow, life made a liar out of me.  May is always a very busy month in Religious Education: end of semester and quarter tests and progress reports, First Communion, Confirmation, Registration for next September, developing the calendar and volunteer roster for next September, the last catechist meeting of the year, regional and archdiocesan end-of-year meetings, updating permanent record cards, textbook inventory and orders.  To say the least, I was slammed at work.  And then, in June, there are all the end-of-year celebrations which I tend to consider worse than work: the parish's afternoon reception for volunteers, the parish team end-of-year dinner, the archdiocesan Communion Breakfast.  There's also plenty of clean-up and catch-up work leftover from May: making appointments for testing all the children whose parents thought Little League was more important than finals, continuing with registration, dealing with parents disappointed with their children's final progress report, dealing with parents who can't quite understand why they are closed out of the classes they "need" when they waited till the fifth week of registration to come in and why shouldn't their little darlings jump to the head of the Tuesday waiting list instead of being placed in a Thursday class where there is adequate room.  It's a fun month and probably the month with the highest number of complaints.  It's also the month when I consider a career change nearly every year.  But somehow I get through it with my sense of ministry and mission intact.  But, I don't think I have ever gone a whole month without blogging since I began writing this one.  Not only have I gone two whole months without barely a post or two ... I have been doing very little stitching, which explains why I had so little about which to blog!  Mostly I have been reading and vegging out.  I guess it's to be expected that as I get closer to retirement age that it takes me longer to spring back from a school year.  And it surely doesn't help that the Social Security Administration keeps moving the finish line.  I expected to retire with full benefits at 65 and now I'll have to wait till 66.5.   Hell, I remember  attending the World's Fair back in '63 in NYC where the folks at the GE Pavilion had promised that by the time the millennium rolled around, we would all be working from our homes on networked computers and we would be enjoying shorter work days and more leisure time.  Promises! Promises!

But, finally, I do have a few photos to show you of two off-goal projects ... with so little stitching time available to me, I just went haywire and worked on a few quick stitches/easy new starts.

The first is a bookmark started long ago, before I started lining my bookmarks, simply fringing them.  I  designed this one as I went along, using bands of my favorite specialty stitches.  I may go ahead and line this one after the fact, anyway.

And a small freebie sampler [from Plum Street Sampler, I think] that I changed up a bit, replacing the alphabet with the greeting "Happy Halloween".  I'll finish this piece either as a trick or treat bag for one of my grandchildren or as a small throw pillow.

Not much to show for two entire months ... just two tiny projects, one of which was already started.

But I hope to get back into my usual stitching routines in the coming months.  July is a much more reasonable month at work: ongoing registration slows to a trickle, the summer building maintenance walk-through is a thing of the past, the supplies inventory is done.  All that's left is  preparing the 2013-14 Catechist Binders, updating catechist files and some summer home study evaluations.  Mostly just paperwork.  And a more sanity inducing schedule of 9-5, Mon-Thurs.  I may even get ahead of the game, writing and developing some special Family Catechesis Events for November and March.  And then, in August, four glorious weeks of vacation before the whole thing starts up again in September.  There's a certain comfort in the cyclic nature of my work, since I can count on breathers after mad rushes.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Needlepoint Instead Of Cross Stitch

For the moment, I am working on a counted canvas project by DebBee's Designs called Rice Pudding, which uses many, many variations of the rice stitch.  Since I think the rice stitch is a handsome stitch, whatever its variations, I knew as soon as I saw this booklet in the On Line Show last Spring that I had to stitch it.  I also bought A Bump in the Rhodes, based on the Rhodes stitch, another very handsome stitch.  No doubt, I'll get to that one eventually.  But I expect Rice Pudding to keep me occupied for a very long time.  It's a reasonably straightforward design but it repeats as a mirror image from left to right, so there is lots and lots of work to do.

 Now I have worked painted canvases in needlepoint and I have worked charted counted cross-stitch.  But it's been a very long time since I've worked a counted canvas project like Rice Pudding.  And, I have to admit, my first glance at the fold-out full chart at the back of the booklet left me just a mite intimidated.  But the directions in the booklet are quite clear and I am managing pretty well, with a minimum of flipping the pages back and forth.  I am loving everything about Rice Pudding: the color way, the stitch variations, the perle floss, the novelty of working with canvas rather than my habitual linen.

Admittedly, I am not very far along with this project at this point but I am just happy to be enjoying my stitching again.  Here's a progress photo or two just to give you a sense of what the piece is like.  Above is a photo of progress to date and to the right is a close up photo of two variations of the rice stitch: the dark brown is the standard rice stitch and the cappucino is a double crossed version.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Isn't It Ironic?

That line from an old rock tune keeps playing in my head.  Here I am in the middle of a stitching slump and all I am thinking about is buying new stash.

First, putting together the patriotic post for July 4th made me want to stitch something new in that area so I went to my favorite "go-to" designer for the quick and easy but clever, too: Glory Bee Designs.  I saw the perfect chart, Patriotic Trio but I also saw another chart I now crave, The Beach Sampler.  Then I checked out Aury's blog and printed off the annual Quaker Patriotic Heart.

And earlier this month, I read on the Homespun Elegance blog that they are re-packaging some old Christmas ornament designs in what I call a super chart with 8-10 designs in one chart.  Well, one of them includes my very favorite Santa ornament ... for which I foolishly gave away the chart since I rarely stitch anything twice.  But then my grandson gazed longingly at the ornament on my tree and of course, I gave it to him.  Now, I need the chart again to stitch another for myself.

I believe I know what the problem is: I am bored to tears with my current stitching plans.  Back in January of 2012, in one of those extraordinary A-type personality brainstorms that engulf me every so often, I decided to list and finish all my UFOs including class pieces.  I made a list and I started stitching and stitching and stitching.  And I have finished up six of the UFOs and one of the class pieces so far.  But a quick glance at my sidebars indicates that I have 17 projects left to complete, and nearly all of these pieces are BAPs.  To further complicate matters, when it comes to stitching, I crave novelty.  Can you say "doomed to failure"?  I believe I have discovered a new mental condition, stitcher's manic depression.  I believe the cure involves some colorful, fun, quick and easy projects interspersed at regular intervals with the more challenging and serious stitching.  I will be calling the folks at Stitchery Row tomorrow for a therapeutic dose of Glory Bee and Homespun Elegance.  And maybe, just maybe, there will soon be current photos gracing this blog once again!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 4th Album Post

I rather like the notion of album posts.  So today, to celebrate the Fourth, I am going to post photos of all my patriotic stitches.

I believe this is a Glory Bee design.  I had it framed and now set it up on a small stand on the antique washstand in my entryway on the appropriate day

In the top right hand corner you can see the July design from the Homespun Elegance Sheepish Designs series.

This a very old freebie that I finished as a pin keep.  It's hard to tell because of the lighting but the flowers are in a white bowl.

And I have stitched all of the Aury Patriotic Quaker motif hearts.  I have finished all of them  as pillow ornaments.

I'd have to look it up to see which came first, but this is my personal favorite

I wasn't as crazy about this design but a set is a set, after all.

This is a Glory Bee design that I stitched up as a tiny pin cushion stuffed with ground walnut shells.  It was the first time I used over-dyed chenille as a trim ... something I do fairly frequently now when I finish tiny pillows.  The pillow is laid on a piece of the backing fabric.

One of the things I liked best about this piece is the tiny brass Liberty Bell charm I stitched onto the branch of the "y" in Liberty.  I sent this as an exchange to a cyber friend.  I used the same design in one of the banners you see below.


This last ornament  is another ancient freebie embellished with a tiny silver USA charm near the hanger.

This a banner I made from a selection of free designs gathered from various websites

And the final banner is a relic from the time when I subscribed to The Silver Needle's Secret Needle Night Club.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Not Much Stitching Going On

None of the June Goals were met so they become the July goals.  I have picked up a needle only every so often, more once a week than once a day.  I'd feel better about this if a whole lot of gardening had been going on.  But the near constant rain has pretty much eliminated that as an excuse.  I have been reading, both serious and light.  The light reading has been Catherine Coulter FBI thrillers and Tea Time and Vegetarian Times magazines.  The serious stuff has been various volumes about the scandals in the Catholic Church and about how to pray the Psalms with movement.  And I have done a lot more home-cooking now that my schedule has lightened up.  So I haven't been totally idle.  

The office workload has slowed to a less frenetic pace and both my secretary and assistant are now off for the summer,  My husband wonders how I can be happy, all alone in the building, but I have always been a solitary soul.  Spending the month of July as a hermit is a welcome respite from all the demands of working with the public the rest of the year.  I am getting a lot of the next school year's programs planned and have the time to go back through student and catechist records and dot every "i" and cross every "t" that got overlooked in the course of the hectic school year.  Happily only nine student records out of 350 were missing some data ... we are, apparently, more efficient than I thought.  I have yet to go through the catechist records, so we shall see how that goes.  I am also reviewing some textbooks at the 7th and 8th grade levels, since the current texts are getting somewhat dated.  Just the usual administrative stuff for the summer.

I have been visiting my Mom much more frequently, sharing pictures of my grandchildren with her, trading books back and forth.  She turned 85 last April.  Without wishing to be morbid, it hit me that this seemingly immortal matriarch might not be so very immortal after all.  So I have started visiting every Sunday afternoon for two or three hours and calling her on the phone every three or four days.

I read on another blog this comment, "none of my favorite bloggers seem to be posting very often."  For just a moment, the very egotistical sprite on my left shoulder whispered in my ear, "they mean you, dahling!"  However, the more grounded and rational sprite on my right shoulder started laughing, somewhat excessively, I thought.   But I knew that out of the very many stitching and crafting bloggers out there, I was probably not the one being mentioned.  I've noticed that Blacksheep, Stitch Bitch and the Spinster Stitcher have scaled way back and I suspect they were the ones being missed.

I don't know why I am experiencing such a malaise vis-a-vis stitching and blogging at the present.  I expect it will pass as most things do.  In any case, I really need to get focused on the Christmas stockings for my grandchildren.