Homespun Gathering

Monday, January 7, 2019

The History of the Homespun Gathering

In the early 1980s a LNS opened locally.  Anne named her shop Homespun Corner.  The shop was beautiful—wood floors, lots of space to move around, gorgeous threads, a beautiful selection of linens, inviting rotations of displays, an antique cash register and a welcoming spirit.  Classes were offered and monthly stitch-ins were held—the Homespun Gathering.  Women would do all sorts of needle arts, and among all the cross stitching there was wool appliqué, punch needle, rug hooking and quilting.  One Saturday a month women would gather from near and far, bring a dish to share for lunch and, of course, whatever they were stitching on.  But, of course, all good things must come to an end and Anne needed more time to spend with family, so in 2008 she closed her shop to do that.  Believe me the shop is still sorely missed.   The shop may have closed but the Gatherings continued.  At the beginning the Gatherings were at the local library, but the rules changed for reserving rooms, and we decided to move to a local church where one of our members attends.  This Saturday was our first meeting, and we love it. Not only do we have a new place, we decided to meet 6 times a year instead of four.  I can’t tell you how that blesses my heart.  The wisdom, talent, and sweet spirit in that room is way more than I ever dreamed of.

I should mention that while the Gatherings were held at the shop I was too shy to attend.  A few years ago I finally mustered up the courage to go after Lynne, my framer, mentioned the ladies were still gathering at the Library.  It took me a year for my life to settle down, but since then I have attended every single Gathering.  We share finishes, enabling, stories and lots of fellowship. I am truly blessed.  

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas

Greetings, everyone.  I just wanted to pop in and wish you a very Merry Christmas.  It will be quite simple here at Halland House--just the way we like it.

Below you will see a small little Christmas design I started today for a birthday SAL.  I'll share when finished, but for now here she is in her current state before I begin making the three layer coconut cake.  You know.  The kind you used to be able to get in the 1950s . . . or so I've been told.

Merry Christmas Pillow and Pincushion
SubRosa Designs

Things for which I'm thankful:
  • packages of pre-grated coconut
  • ovens
  • refrigerators
Until next time count your blessings--God's gifts to you.


Sunday, December 2, 2018

Sunday Stitches

Today has been glorious after the two days of rain we had and a high dew point.  Bright sunshine and gusty winds have been abundant.  Normally, I'd be taking advantage of the 33° dew point to roll Springerle out, but today I just don't have the energy.  Tomorrow is promising with the cold front coming in.

Springerle are a pressed cookie made traditionally with wooden molds carved by hand.  Once baked they have a dense cake-like texture.  These cookies have enjoyed by many for around 500 years.  I have a resin/wood composite mold . . . just one.  Just not the same, but I do love the walnut shape in this mold though.

My hand carved molds have always come from Gene Wilson with the exception of that one.  He's pretty awesome.

To preserve the impression, the cookies must dry for 12-24 hours.  Some bakers cover the pans with a thin layer of food safe wax.  I just use parchment.

Once dry the cookies can bake at a low temperature.  Time and temperature both will depend on the size of the cookie.  The springerle's traditional flavor is anise and my favorite.  Not a fan?  I make this cookie in vanilla, orange, raspberry, chocolate and one new flavor for this year--rootbeer.  If a girl wants tasters so she can practice she has to branch out.  I did assure my first ever taster her favorite flavor (anise) would always be the first of the season.

Here is a photo I forgot to include in the last post.  Walking around the farm with Mom a few weeks ago I couldn't help but think of Adam and Eve samplers.  We have the serpent.  Now, all we need is Adam and Eve.

Did I mention the tree in our front yard was finally down.  I didn't realize it was a golf tree.  There it was a hole in one. :-)

The dog days of summer have passed, but are still at Heidi's back door.  Poor puppy has had difficulty with bladder control.  The first vet visit sent her back home with an antibiotic for the UTI and a medication to help tighten up her sphincter.  It wasn't long before she quit eating and drunk enough to still swallow.  Well that didn't last long.

Back to the vet we went.  Right now were trying some hormone replacement since our spade sweetie doesn't make her own anymore.  It might be working, but I'm waiting till the box is gone.  Seems like the worst side-effect is constipation.  

Bless her heart.  We'll get there.

Speaking of our beloved pets . . . 
Abigail has started being my stitching buddy from time to time.  Do you see the rubber band behind my ort box?  I initially put that on so I could secure the top for travel.  The bonus is the rubberband helps keep the box from sliding around when I stitch in the car.  No, I'm not driving at the time.

I did learn the rubberband has to be pretty tight.  Cutie Head removed the last one and was about to be in my fancy floss trimmings.  

I've noticed she's not as interested in my DMC.  Judging her resting place I rest my case.

Our Homespun Gathering always has good food, fun and show and tell.  Sometimes it also has items that need a new home.  I'm really embarrassed at my reaction to Cathy's items.  She brought in some items from her old house for us to take if we wanted.  That's all the encouragement I needed.  Here is where I lost me ever lovin' mind.  Beeline straight for the box.  Grabbed the quilt and almost went out the door, before embarrassment and some guilt seized me.  Before walking out the door and putting the  quilt in the trunk I at least opened it up to show the other stitchers.

This quilt had been left behind in her house years ago by the prior owner.  A little pull on the seams revealed hand piecing.  The basting stitches used for the hand quilting and the many knots on the outside of the quilt would never won any blue ribbons, but I just love this quilt--cotton batting and all.    Someone was just trying to put together a quilt that would warm someone they loved.  Nothing mass-produced or produced in a day or two.  I love this kind of quilt.

And a couple of days ago I realized Abigail was ready to claim it too.  She wouldn't look me directly in the eye.  Maybe if she didn't move I wouldn't make her leave.  

Sorry, kitty, not today. :-)  lol

I hope y'all had a very blessed Thanksgiving.  Family gatherings for us have changed over the years.  We used to gather at Mom's at first, we brought nothing.  Eventually, we brought more and more sides/desserts.  

For the last few years we have had holiday meals at home before visiting with Mom.  She just can't put a large meal together anymore.  She won't let us pick her up, feed her and visit before bringing her home.  Okay, but we're coming.  We refuse to let her be home alone on a major holiday.  We bring the dessert and enjoy her lovely company. 

Like Santa I have a list for the meal.  Unlike Santa I check it about 12 times.

After 23 years of marriage I've come to a dressing compromise.  His side gets nothing but butter and stock.  Daniel's and my side keep that company with delicious onion and celery.  Everyone was very happy. :-)

Here is my sad little attempt for my food not to touch.  I ask every time to make sure no one's favorite foods are left out.  To be honest, I'm happy with it all.  Daniel has never been a fan of sweet potatoes so I made him carrots.  The sweet potatoes, still in the skins, went into the fridge for later--yummy.  

Bacon drippings (the good kind) enriched the green beans and the mashed potatoes. My mom's dressing (Pepperidge Farm) is an iconic memory along with the rolls my grandmother made, and my mom and now me, my sister and other family.

But along with tradition there are new traditions.  Cranberry Relish was originally made in my house with a hand cranked metal meat grinder that was mostly used for this relish.  A few years ago I decided to try homemade cranberry sauce.  Oh. My. Goodness.  So good.

The turkey gave up 13 quarts of stock the next day.  Most of that, of course, is in the freezer.

So there you have it . . . Thanksgiving Dinner

My DH loves all things pumpkin and all things pie, so there was no question what dessert would be for him.  Mom loves all things chocolate, and these Mexican Mocha Balls are a true time-tested favorite.  I'm pretty sure we've been baking and eating these since the 70s.

It really is true what they say about moisture in the air and baking.  I thought I'd be making drop biscuits with my children this week.  It was so dry that without any extra milk they were roll-out-ready.  Ten biscuits portioned out with an ice cream scoop later we had yummy biscuits.

We have an oven at school, but I've never had to sign up for it.  I think I'm the only teacher at my school who bakes with her kids.  This is a little sad, but it makes scheduling a breeze.  Seven out of ten children liked the biscuits, and the other three aren't usually bread eaters anyway.  I call that success.

Saturday my husband took a woodworking friend over to Mom's her table was falling apart after about 70 years.  It was made from a black walnut tree from the family farm.  After decades of games, holiday meals and regular meals the glue was beginning to fail between the planks.  We now have a plan, but on the way out of her driveway look what they saw after a day and a half of rain.

Double Rainbow

I love how the rainbow expands at the bottom.  Just beautiful.

I'm not sure I've shown you the extent of this Sarah Braizear "table cloth sampler" on 36 count.  Design size is right around 27" square.

So here is where I finished last night.  Does anyone else see the sleeping snowman on my shelf?

Yesterday morning I woke to a Nicola Parkman post with her Christmas releases.  Yes, I know I need another Hands Across the Sea Sampler like I need a flat tire.

I also remember missing out on the Uffindell sister samplers because I waffled and hesitated too long.  The Hariet Hartland 1782 sampler reminds me so much of this one, so on a shopping spree I went.  Sarah M. Larkworthy I've liked but never bought because I was distracted with the un-mottled linen.  I have ideas on that one, and she's going to be beautiful.  Jane will fulfill my desire to create a beautiful band sampler.

Mary (Stitching Friends Forever), this next one's for you.  I have never eaten cheddar on apple pie.  Scared me to death.  Today, I was brave.  I baked off some Granny Smiths added a couple slices of cheddar with some nutmeg for good measure.

Well, well, what do you know?  Not bad.

Thanks, Mary.

Things I'm thankful for:
  • fresh produce
  • medicine at the ready for headaches
  • cranberry sauce
Until next time count your blessings--God's gifts to you.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Catching Up

Well, look what I found just sitting in the OCTOBER blog folder.  Just shaking my head.

You may know how much I love 18th century living history.  Townsends has a great YouTube channel devoted to this, and every once in a while they put out a specialty mug. The potter makes a very limited number, so when they're gone they're gone.  It's not unheard of to sell out on the website in 24 hours.  I'm feeling incredibly blessed to have this stoneware mug for tea, and I've used it quite a bit already.  

My Christmas gift from my husband is also stoneware, and it arrived safe and sound at his office yesterday.  Sorry, you and I are just going to have to wait, but he did well. :-) 

Our son turned 19 last month.  Bless his heart.  He made it easy on me and asked for chocolate cake with maraschino cherries.

I've been frosting cakes with a protective layer of waxed paper for a few years now--love it.

This may make me a little odd, but these nails make me so happy.  They are from the 1809 portion of my mom's home where she was having some clapboard replaced.  Have you ever seen the work that goes into making these nails?  No wonder people would burn an older building down for the nails.

A hackberry is very distinctive.  Just look for the warts on the bark.  It may be sparse, but it will definitely be there.  This duo came down on two different days.  Taking a tree down takes a little problem solving especially when it's practically hugging it's bestie.

Look a little further down the trunk on the right (chainsaw cut) and you will see where I would have preferred to cut it. 

Nonetheless, this problem child came down and was turned into firewood.  Do you see the crook in the trunk?  Yep, that weight distribution caused it to fell left.

Felled the "next door neighbor" a couple of weeks later before cutting it up into kindling and firewood.  Well, actually a man from Mom's church did the felling portion.  He wanted to try out my mom's battery operated chainsaw.  I think he liked it as much as I do.  It's easy start and no slacker for the smaller trunked trees.  

Mom's 77 and still climbing trees.  I think it's like putting chocolate in front of us.  We'll climb the tree and eat the chocolate.

The day before the work crew arrived I was feeling crafty in the kitchen and made a speculaas stocking covered in ganache.  There was no way I was keeping it in the house so I donated it to the crew at Mom's.  You may notice the stocking shape from the Carriage House Samplings stocking series.

The pigs were long gone by the time I came along, but the barbed wire in the fence I was carefully clearing around was meant to keep the pigs in the field and out of the front yard where my mom lived with her family in the late 50s early 60s.  I did get permission to clear out a few more hackberry saplings.  Here you can see a hackberry weaving its way through the nearly 60 year old fence.  Nuh-uh, not on my watch.  Y'all clearing fence lines really is my happy place.

The old light pole is leaning against one of the walnuts mom is allowing me to take down to fence height.   Hallelujah!  No more walnuts to run over with the lawnmower blade!  On the right of the picture just inside the shade is the other walnut she's allowing me to take down to fence height.  And the cherry on top the the other walnut just outside the photo that she's letting me girdle.  This kills the offending tree in place within 2-3 years.  Best part, dying trees aren't putting out walnuts :-).  Even better walnut is great firewood.

This fence was put up around 1958, and still mostly standing.  This is a creosote fence for you.  They last a really long time.  The most you'll get out of a regular fence is 15-20 years.  

Mom wanted one of her fences (to a working field) put back up a few weeks ago.  The corner post was long gone, but there was a volunteer hackberry practically begging to volunteer.    I priced hinges like the one below and nearly choked at the price tag.  No doubt the $5 was fair, but daggumbit, y'all, They were free in this corner post.  I lost one of my favorite water bottle bottle hooks, but a set of vice grips and a drill later the hackberry is doing a great job holding up that old fence.  We'll cut it down to fence height in the next few months.  Hackberries drop seeds like crazy, so they breed like rabbits.  At least this one is useful for something other than firewood . 

Well, I've cleaned up from the farm.  Are you ready for some stitching?  I thought you might be.

A very sweet and thoughtful stitching friend gifted me Sarah Braizear 1829.  I had been really on the fence. Do I want to follow all the stitchers racing to purchase her?  She's kinda big, and I just finished a "tablecloth sampler"  Well, she did come out on my birthday.  She is the first of many Queens of May that will be put out by Hands Across the Sea Samplers.    

Out of nowhere she arrived, and I committed to stitch her by May 1st of 2019.  Oh, dear, what am I getting myself into.  There are so many purposefully charted mistakes in this faithfully reproduced sampler.  The border is full of them and they sneak out and cry "BOO" when you least expect it.  My plan was to expect it everywhere.

So what's a girl to do?  Focus.  Focus I tell you.  
Focus like the anti-frog depends on it.   

First, I should say I'm a center starter.  Well, I was until Sarah.  Needing to do the border first for accuracy meant I started at the top left.  487 stitches by 482 later the first double line was complete.  The inner double line was NOT charted as the same color.  So glad I caught that early.

Sometimes I'm stitching and my leg feels awfully warm.  Do you see why?  Bless her heart.  

Well, we are never in any doubt how much she loves us.

Do you see the waxed paper marker on the margin of the fabric.  I placed them every 100 stitches to keep me sane, but they weren't as durable as I'd hoped.  I replaced them with a DMC upgrade.  

You may also notice I've counted using my stitches.  Tent stitch for nine and cross the tenth.  I heard this tip on Fiber Talk, and it was a tip that has really served me well.

I was going to have to get a different magnifying system later, but my clip on fell apart earlier than expected.  I'm no a proud owner of Mageyes.

There are something like 64 flowers in this border, and I'm almost 3/4 there.  Happily both double borders are stitched as is the vine.  The double borders are nowhere near finished.  They are both filled with satin stitch as are some of the flowers.  I'm really hoping to have the border completed in the next week or so--minus the satin stitches.  

Seriously, y'all. I'm ready to start the main part of the design.  This reminds me of the first time I stitched on linen.  I used to be a slightly sloppy stitcher, but linen doesn't allow for that.   I used to be forgiving of mistakes, but this border was having none of it.  I'm tired, but proud of matching it all the first time.


Over the last 35 years of stitching I've come to dislike floss bobbins and love the precut lengths in Classic Colorworks floss.   I made floss cards for the change over starting with Sarah.  Here is my version that keeps everything neat and tidy and oh so happy. Let the change over begin.

My new car project has begun.  A couple of weeks ago a letter came in the mail informing me of an front passenger airbag recall.  I called and they were able to give me an appointment that day with an estimated time.  

Of course,  I'm thinking of how much frogging and stitching would get done.  Do you see the circled area?  I think that was the second time that area was stitched--wrong.  I finally got it right at the dealer while they fixed the recall and checked things like fluids, tires and tire pressure as part of the complimentary recall fix.  All in all a good day.

Mystery pattern to be revealed later.

I'm so blessed to have these things in my life.
  • homemade cranberry sauce
  • a comfortable bed to sleep in
  • heat in the winter
Until next time count your blessings--God's gifts to you.


Sunday, October 28, 2018

Autumn Garden, Welcome Home!

Oh my goodness, y'all.  This has been one wild ride of a school year.  My last Assistant Teacher of two years was promoted to a Lead Teacher role.  She had grown a huge amount in two years and really deserved it.  I can't tell you how proud I was and still am.    

I loved her and missed her desperately the first couple of months.  Teaching preschool is no small task, so when a new TA is a poor fit life is challenging.  About a month into the school year switches were made and I had a rotation of subs or potential TAs almost daily.  You can imagine the challenge this caused for me.  What I do in the classroom is extremely structured, forward focused and with a reason behind everything I do.  My director was determined to find someone that would be a great fit.  Her mentorship and support have been invaluable the last 6 years.  

Finally, the first week of October I found out my first choice had agreed to come into the classroom.  She is amazing, teachable, easy to talk to, invested when in the classroom and loves the kids.  I'm in heaven.  I feel like I can relax again and focus on my role in the classroom again.  Hopefully this means I'll have the energy to read, interact and write blog posts again on a more regular basis.

Autumn Garden has come home.  She started her life as a Blackbird Designs Christmas Garden, but I have a love of fall and changed a couple of colors on the called for linen.  My framer always takes a photo before the conservation glass goes in.  Doesn't she look lovely in that burled frame?

Once the glass was in place the linen became even darker.  Love that.  It really feels more like an antique sampler.

It wasn't until I was showing my Mom the framed sampler that I realized I had stitched her initials twice.  That's right--twice.  I wouldn't change it for the world even if I could.  I love that woman. :-) 

I'm incredibly thankful for:
  • my new assistant
  • an incredible framer
  • the season of autumn
Until next time count your blessings--God's gifts to you.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Happy Fall, Y'all

I don't know what your favorite season is, but mine is fall.  I enjoyed it Friday morning on my back patio with my first cup of coffee as the wind rustled through the trees.  I enjoyed it as the weather finally cooled off that day to somewhere in the 70s.  

I really enjoyed it when I brought this lovely piece to my framer.
After 2 1/2 months my version of Christmas Garden is finally done.  I've learned to double the stitching time when something is fiddly like this, but I really do love the look of fiddly.

Blackbird Designs
Christmas Garden
Called for Linen
36 count 

The five sets of initials belong to me, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and great great grandmother.  Fortunately, there is to help with some of this, but my mother was the first to be born with a birth certificate.  My grandmother actually had to apply to get hers before she started teaching in the 1950s.    

The first three generation's initials were easy, but I needed help with the last two.  I could only find a first name and maiden/married name for my grandmother's mother.  Her brothers had them.  Not even grave stone markers helped.  Mom had a locket that belonged to her and on it is inscribed "EB".  I believe the "E" belonged to a name she never liked or used.  That must be some name!  Also unclear what my great great grandmother's "J" stood for, but her mother's maiden name was Jones.

A year ago I started Dearie and Darling by Kathy Barrick.  The changes started with the doe and a poor color charted.  Then all the colors started to change depending on what was in my personal stash and those colors I was drawn to.  

When all was said and done there was DMC, silk and fancy floss.  Stitches included cross stitch and wheat stitch.  Some people can't do things the easy way, and I decided not to lift a design from any pattern I had but design my own.

Without further ado here is the Doodle Sampler.

Dearie and Darling
Kathy Barrick
32 count linen
silk, DMC, fancy floss

This sampler has a cookie theme for me.  Those who know me know I love to bake Springerle in the dry winter months.  These cookies come from my German heritage and are traditionally raised with hartshorn.  Hart=deer and horn=antlers.  In the 1600s this raising agent was made from the deer antlers.  Today the bakers ammonia is made by chemists in a lab.  No worries it bakes out but gives a much better texter than baking powder ever could.

So, we have deer.  Instead of Kathy's swans I thought a windmill (my Dutch heritage) and wheat.  The wheat gave me a chance to try out the wheatear stitch, and I left every quickly stitched version of it in there.  This is a learning peice, don't you know.  The wheat must be ground, so that is where the windmill came in.   Yep, designed by me and stitched with fancy floss.  Any excuse to practice the flow of floss.  It will be hard not to see cookies when I look at this one :-).

Dearie and Darling
Kathy Barrick
32 count linen
silk, DMC, fancy floss

The only thing left to finish is my tiny biscornu.  The stitching is completed.  Then I'm off to start Sarah Brazear.  I bought the floss last week.  Wow, it's getting real.

I'm thankful for:
  • not having to be perfect all the time
  • the ability to bake
  • the ability to give to others

Until next time count your blessings--God's gifts to you.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Flow of Floss

School is back in session, and fall is on it's way.  So . . . in the spirit of the classroom I thought I would share how I stitch with the fancy floss.  

So many are looking for the stripy look of over dyed flosses, but I spend a lot of time in nature studying flora and fauna.  I also remember the lines from the old tube televisions.  When I see stripy designs I see the tube TVs and what I want is HDTV.  This is what caused my stitching with fancy flosses to move to the next level.  I typically stitch primitive designs with FF, but some designs say DMC to me, so that's what I stitch with.  Sarah Brazier will be started soon, and this girl is stitching with DMC.  

Let's get started.  When stitching this tree I kept the bark in mind.  Many trees have a vertical pattern, so this one did too.  I started with the top of the tree and then stitched the left and right outline of the tree.  To keep everything moving toward center, I stitched a line down the center.  That extra 6 Xs was to finish off the floss in my needle.  

Next, we are going to look at the vertical lines.  When stitching this way lacing is so important.  Just like laying floor you want to lace the planks together.  For a floor it's more about weakness.  For a natural effect in stitching, lacing allows the eye to keep moving around as it would in nature.

I started the lacing (overlap) on the right, but either side is fine.  The black vertical line shows how far down I went (horizontal line) before coming back up for the next column of stitches.  Continue this way with some overlap until you get to the base of the tree and come back up to do the next set of columns.

Here you will notice a tent stitch.  The column next to it ended up finishing at the bottom, but this was no problem.  I just tent stitched up to the top and then finished the stitch on the way down continuing the lacing pattern.  This saves floss and leaves a neater back. I will say this.  Once I finished crossing my stitch I hopped over to the columns to the right and finished the pattern.  This means there will be a couple more columns starting out with tent stitches before the right side is complete.

Here you will see the finished bark on one side and the natural bark pattern you'll achieve.  On His Eye is on the Sparrow I wasn't looking for a bark pattern, but avoiding the bands of color.  There wasn't much shading when I stitched vertically, but horizontally it was pretty obvious.

Follow the same method for the second side as you did the first.

Grass  Oh  Grass

Here I stitched the outline and then filled in the letters. I find I make fewer mistakes this way.  With grass I like to stitch columns of three.  To get started with the lacing pattern the columns on the bottom will need to be stitched vertically in a 2 Xs high, 3 Xs high, 2 Xs high, 3 Xs high and so on.  This is your base.  The next row will have each column 3 Xs high.

Here is a closer look at that 2/3 X column pattern.

Normally, stitching blocks of color like this is mind numbing, but stitching this brought on an unexpected surprise.   No mind numbing anywhere in sight.  Note to self:  Any large blocks of color must be stitched this way.  Think the swan on Repeat the Sounding Joy by Kathy Barrick. 

Now for Mr. Peacock.  I stitched the outline and beak first then I filled in the center pattern.  I have no idea how I stitched the head on our peafowl here, but if I did it again I would just stitch vertically until I got to the same spot leaving a comb-like appearance like that above so I could start my lacing.

Feathers follow the body of your bird so your stitched columns will need to also like the tree--sorta.  See below.  The 5 or 6 rows on the peacock's neck was just stitched vertically.  Just winging this one as I went.  I did the lacing using columns of 3-5.  Columns are always going to be shorter on the inside of a curve and longer on the outside.  This is really more art than science. 

Look closely and you will see how I got the feathery look.  If you inspect my stitched columns vertically you will notice I stitched a column, skipped one and stitched another.  On the next row down I started lacing them in using the same every other row pattern.

Then it was time to fill in the empty columns using the same stitching pattern.  Here is a tip.  Look at the color in your floss.  If you notice there will be no contrast stitch in a place where you will get it.  Don't expect perfect.  Perfect doesn't exist.    Note below how you don't see columns of color.  My goal here was to avoid stripes and a little trompe l'oeil--fooling the eye.  Essentially, our brain sees feathers.

I filled in the single stitches in the tail first before I started stitching my columns of 5 and overlapping the next row down by two.

Back up to the top I started to fill in an "every other column" pattern for each row.

How you fill this in will be completely up to your artistic eye.  I tend to be methodical.

all done

This diamond pattern was probably the most tedious but still doable.  I stitched rows in an every other type pattern going from top to bottom, left to right and back again. 

Eventually, I finished up the peacock stripe free.  Could I make improvements?  Yep.  Am I beating myself up about it?  Nope.  Stitching is about learning, enjoying myself and growing.

Can we talk about the house a second?  Thanks.  Do you remember I talked about looking at the floss color as your stitch.  On a larger building this won't matter, but because this house was so small I had to stitch most rows every other.  I didn't want three rows of dark floss next to three rows of light.  That wouldn't look like siding.  This does.

Now, let's talk about the larger leaves.  Larger leaves can look stripey.  To avoid this, I tend to stitch the outline and then concentric "circles" until I get to the middle.  I've also stitched one edge and followed it up along the shape of the leaf until I got the other side.    Sunshine doesn't always hit and entire leaf with the same level of intensity.  It's going to be okay.

Manor at Peacock Hill
Brenda Gervais

Written, I think this is far more complicated than it really is.  If you'd like to leave the stripes in your past give this a moment to sink in and give it a try.  It won't take long to figure out what works for you and build on it. 

Practice makes progress.

Until next time count your blessings--God's gifts to you.