Homespun Gathering

Sunday, July 15, 2018


Well, blog family, I've returned to Blogland.  When school let out for summer I already had planned on a skeleton schedule.  What I didn't plan on was a brain drain.  This meant no writing or reading of blogs.  Those who know me know that I work pretty intensely, so the rest needs to be just as intense.  I didn't realize how much I needed this, and my slower schedule has been pleasantly restorative.

You stitchers out there know you need to pay attention to where you rest your needlework.  Apparently, June found me making a lean to for Abigail.

I made it two runs on our local Greenway before my knee said, "Uum . . . no".  I refuse to give up and have added a hip stretch program to my library.  My hips have been tight for years, and I'll let you know how it goes.  If it goes well, there is a knee program.  The doc found nothing in my knee last year, but I'm not giving up.  I find I have the best health breakthroughs when I trust my gut and do the research.

One thing I can still do is work on the Mom's farm, and work I did last week.  Yesterday I took down a walnut limb to get it out of the way when I mow.  We got some firewood out of it, AND it won't be dropping anymore walnuts--not good for mower blades.

It was not all work in June.  Our son and my husband love opera and performing artsy stuff.  I swear I'm adopted.  we took some time off and went to a Tennessee Performing Arts Center presentation of the sequel to Phantom of the Opera.  I go because it's great family time, and I could use a dose of culture from time to time.

As we left the theater around 10:00, this was the scene in our corner of Nashville.  Clearly this is not New York City, and life in, at least parts of, Nashville stop at a certain point.  Here we can see a serene shot of Tennessee's State Capital.

I did a little bit of baking last month.  No, I would not normally blind bake my pastry and then line it with parchment.  My crust shrunk because I forgot to rest it, and the glutens snapped back like a brand new rubber band.   Horrors 😲!  To avoid an even worse situation in the oven, I lined the pastry with parchment in case something spilled over.  It didn't, but I was ready.  This lemon custard tart may have been a mistake.  The house smelled aMAZing, and the tart did not last long.

Many of my favorite recipes come from Avner Laskin and he has several cookbooks.  The tart came from this one.

I stitched in solitary refinement for decades.  As a result I deeply appreciate my 3D stitching friends.  Betty has begun bringing me some of her ORTs each time we meet as a Homespun group.  I greatly treasure these bits.  Back in May I felt it was high time Betty got her own jar.  It makes my heart smile between Gatherings.  My jar is a repourposed candle jar, but Betty gets the canning jar.  I'll use any excuse to use a canning jar.

I know I'm an outlier, but once or twice a year I get the overwhelming desire to cull and clear out my stitching stash.  This time I ran across some silks from a Carriage House Samplings stocking.  Those silks didn't pass the "Who am I kidding?" test.  

Who was I kidding?  I don't buy patterns that call for this silk--pretty but gathering dust.  Oh, wait a minute!  Betty likes silk. Maybe she'll give them a good home, and she agreed.  What I didn't know was that when I gave them to her she had something for me.

Y'all, just floored.  What she handed me was a fully intact pattern for Sarah Braizear by Hands Across the Sea Samplers.  It is nearly impossible to get now.  I was fully in the throws of His Eye is on the Sparrow when Sarah came out, and I didn't have the presence of mind to look up.  That and it's not my personality to follow the lemmings, sheep, etc.  Originally, I was super excited about Sarah, but she fell off the radar with the monogamous stitching and mad dash for all the charts.  I can't really blame anyone. Sarah is pretty special.  Had it not been for this very generous act of stitchy kindness I would have missed out.  
Abigail keeping my chart warm until I can get to it.

I'm on a waiting list for my linen of choice (Lakeside Linen Vintage Fawn, 36 ct.), but if it arrives in 6 months I should be good.  In case you haven't heard there is a giveaway going on and the requirements must be filled by next July to receive a copy of beautiful chart and a chance to win a beautiful antique sampler of Nicola's.  All the info. is on the Hands Across the Sea Samplers website.  

With two LNSs expanding in Arkansaw, fabric companies struggling to keep up with demand and events like Stitch Con filling up faster than you can say "FlossTube" I think our hobby is in a very good place.

Speaking of a good place . . . here is where I was on HEIOTS in the beginning of June.

Since then I have completed it.  This took six calendar months to stitch, but only about 4 1/2 months of stitching.  I plan to frame it, but our son is starting college in the fall, and somehow the framing seems less important than the finish.  I am, however, going to take it to my framer and price out what it will cost.  I'm comfortable in the ebb and flow of stitching and framing as long as I can keep stitching.

His Eye is on the Sparrow
28 ct. Doubloon Linen
Called for fancy floss with a couple spots of DMC

June also found me taking Eliza down to Nashville for Appraisal Day.  I was hoping for a little more information, but as knowledgeable as the appraiser was she wasn't an expert in samplers.  I've looked online and found a mountain of girls with the same name as my Eliza Jane Thomas born in her year, so no help on the genealogy side either.  I love her all the same.

The appraiser did help me know a little more about the cloth napkins I inherited from my father's mother.  Keeping the box was key.  They may have only been worth about $50, but they are priceless to me.  More on that later.

Me and Eliza Jane Thomas

So, what have I been stitching to lately.  My love of 18th century living history has brought me to a wonderful YouTube Channel--Townsends.  On Friday Jon is in the studio surrounded by all sorts of eye candy talking about the period, answering questions, and sometimes creating simple food and beverage.  This is my way of dipping my toe in the culture of these little girls stitching samplers I love so much.  Cell phone screen shots or nice, but I encourage you to check out the channel.  There is a large volume of videos with a variety of things of interest.

Here Jon is talking with a staff member about the research of biscuits and gravy.  It's not as easy as one would think.

I hope to be back to my regular schedule.  Am I stitching anything?  Why yes!  If you follow me on Instagram you've already seen it,  but I'll post the progress here on the blog next time.

Things I'm thankful for:

  • Rain
  • The desire and ability to be generous
  • Electric lights
  • Bonus:  After the heat this week . . . central AC
Until next week count your blessings--God's gifts to you.


Monday, May 28, 2018

End of the Year

The end of the school year has come and I am quite ready to have a recuperative summer.  This year I'm doing no volunteer activities which will help with this, but in their place I will be actively working on sprucing up our home and property along with regular lawn/field maintenance I will do at our house and Mom's.

First up, preschool has ended for the year, and I'm so blessed with the students and parents I have each year.  Any stitching teachers out there know that once the classroom closes the needles are ablaze with a flurry of activity because come August/September your priorities are rightfully elsewhere.

High School is now complete for our son.  He graduated last Thursday.  Hooray!

We arrived really early for a good seat, and for our viewing pleasure the JumboTron had a slideshow of each senior with a "baby picture".  Our baby still eats pasta this way.  Could it be all the noodles I ate with him while we were in Japan?

One of the joys for our son was singing in his school's Honor Choir for four years.  Judging from all the caps and gowns, the choir may be significantly smaller next year, but Mr. Gority has always done such a great job with his students, and this choir was such a pleasure to listen to.

We were blessed with beautiful sunshine and temperatures that weren't overly ambitious.  What a joyous occasion.

This Month's Gathering

Our Homespun Gathering was the 19th, and I made cucumber sandwiches with a sweet whole wheat bread spread with a mint compound butter.  I thought it was so appropriate considering American Megan was marrying into English royalty.  I was thrilled to see even just a smidgen of the veil stitched by masters at the Royal School of Needlework.  What a beautiful wedding.  Don't you think?

I have been working on my real first quilt for four years now.  I've forbid myself to purchase Stacy Nash's Miss Baxter's House until it is pieced, hand quilted and bound. sigh.  The good Lord has prompted me a bit.  Jane was working on Miss Baxter's House, and my breath caught when I saw it.  The design is beautiful, but the colors are just stunning in person.  I really tried not to make a scene with staring and drooling.  Play it cool, Judy.  

In case you are wondering, Jane has used all the called for floss and fabric.  While I did buy the floss a couple of years ago I haven't yet bought the linen or chart. It's time to start piecing the top again so I can start working on Miss Baxter's House.  She really is lovely.

Miss Baxter's House
Stacy Nash

Jane typically stitches things that are finished into something other than a frame.  Think needlebooks, sewing rolls, trays, etc.  She does all the finishing and typically has several lovely things FFOed when we meet at the Homespun Gathering.

The last couple of Gatherings, she has had her berry tote filled with some drool worthy projects.  I have so many smalls in my files waiting to be stitched.  Dare I say it?  I'm getting a little burnt out on large projects, and I would love to have a collection like Jane's.  I think that is the plan.  I need to finish HEIOTS, Dearie and Darling and my car project.  All three of these are pretty close, and then that whopper of a quilt top can be put into active rotation with some smalls.

Are you ready for the color reveal?  I decided to stitch the house with Mulberry from The Gentle Art.  It reminds me of the reds from those old Saltbox houses.

Last night I finished up the deer.  I would have liked to have stitched more, but there was some eye strain happening.  

What a thrill to finish the border this week.  It matched up like it was supposed to, and now I just need to fill everything in.

  • Electricity
  • Gravity:  I just saw an in space clip from a female astronaut sharing the challenges of quilting in space.  Wow!
  • Air Conditioning

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


Wednesday, May 16, 2018


As promised I'm writing a much more joyful post.  Each year my husband's company takes its employees on an all expenses paid Leader's Trip to someplace warm, beachy and restorative. It's an earned trip,  but the numbers to hit are never unrealistic.  When we left Nashville it was cloudy and rainy.  This doesn't really bother me since once you're above the clouds this is the view.  

Last year my plane project was manageable but a bit large, so this year I took a biscornu.  It was all going so well until . . . 
Let's just say there was some frogging involved, the floss got stuck, and next thing I knew the needle I was using was behind me with two really big guys who were probably none the wiser.  Eventually, I told my husband and our slap happy selves were having a hard time stifling raucous laughter.  We did look for the needle after the plane emptied out to no avail.  So, if any of you find a tapestry needle on a Delta Flight it's mine.  I have lost two needles in my entire 35 years of stitching,  and both have been connected to these Leaders trips.

Well, drat, y'all!  I didn't bring a spare since I NEVER need one. 

 The travel agent for the company comes with us and works out all kinds of events, tours, etc.  He's a really great guy.  Last year he added an assistant, Chris.  It was Chris went and found me a sewing kit that wasn't obvious in the gift shop.  That is an act of service I won't soon forget.  We went on the economy a little later to see if the pharmacy had a larger needle.  It did, but it was still a sewing kit.   

After we got to our room I opened the second kit I was carrying with MaPH and EUREEKA.  I had a spare needle.  At this point I'm oozing with gratitude.

The next day found Mr. HH and I relaxing outside with ocean waves and nature.  I, of course, was stitching along while hubby watched documentaries on Mozart, Beethoven or something.  We were both happy as clams.

Manor at Peacock Hill
Brenda Gervais
We had a great spot.  The breezes coming through felt like air conditioning.  Here you can see the marketing guy taking pictures of the local birds.

like this one

When we got back Mr. HH had a recording session with the Nashville Praise Symphony.  It's a charity organization that plays for free.  Any monies given as a Love Offering go 100% to the organization they are supporting that night.  My husband is currently a sub as a French Horn player.  Auditions are held every three years.  This summer is one of those, so he is practicing on something he called The Buzzard to keep his emboucher (chops) strong and up to snuff.  Of course you could barely hear what he was playing, so no one was any the wiser.

Looking outside our balcony one day I couldn't believe what I saw.

A paddleboat!

In Mexico?

Is the captain lost?

Thursday was my husband's birthday.  He's had a bucket list desire to swim with Dolphins.  There wasn't a place where I could just watch so I stayed back at the resort while he was Trainer for a Day.  He was so excited I don't think he even missed me.

Someone in the company squeeled shared with the staff that it was hubby's birthday.  Mid afternoon a young lady showed up with this white sash for our door.  I tried to explain to her we weren't newlyweds like the five or six other rooms on the floor.   Turns out it was just a birthday sash.   A beautiful birthday dessert would arrive later.  How sweet.

The afternoon brought in T-storms with a soaking of rain.  I love rain and T-storms, so of course I was as close to action as possible out on the balcony.

As expected the storm is moving west to east.

Eventually everything was covered up in rain.

In case you're a new reader, my husband was to soon return after this photo was taken and would tell me our son had been in a roll over accident and was at the hospital.  Fast forward to now.  The car was totalled but has been 100% replaced within the amount we were given.  The insurance folks were awesome.  Medical bills taken care of 100%.  Our son is making a full recovery with the regular and nearly complete chiropractic visits.

We are incredibly blessed.

After returning I was surprised by a little girl at church with a special gift she made with her grandmother.  I teach the little girl in Sunday School and have taught with her mother and grandmother.  They are such kindred spirits. 

I will treasure this doll for always and forever.

I was able to bring one of hubby's gifts with me on the trip.  It was a key fob that opens the gate to the good dog park in our town.  The two others are open but not as nice.  You have to have proof of certain shots to get it.  It was worth the hassle of gathering the paperwork from a multi-owner dog.  Next time won't be nearly as difficult.

My birthday is four days after my husband's, and he got me an antique sampler on Ebay.  Yes there is a vertical stain down the center of the sampler, but the dark spot at the bottom is the reflection of my ceiling fan.  This 1850 sampler came from an estate sale and looks to be done with wool floss.  I'll ask at the Gathering this Saturday.  Those ladies have more than one sampler under their belts. 

At some point I'll have her reframed by my framer, but until then I've only cleaned the brown dirt off the glass.  Pretty sure Eliza was kept in a barn or a shed.  No matter.  I love her. :-)

It has now happened to me.  My cat has used my stitching as a pallet bed, or she tried anyway.  The frame was still in my lap, so I ousted her.

Upside down is sometimes just easier.  

All done.  :-)

Manor at Peacock Hill

My Blessings,
  • the strength and ability to do my own yardwork
  • a phone for me and her so I can call my mom anytime
  • gas stations with available gas

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


Sunday, May 6, 2018

Sunday Stitches

When last we met I was taking a break from His Eye is on the Sparrow.  What I didn't tell you was this.   She is on a 40" wide frame and wouldn't be making the plane ride to Cancun.  I also told you the next time we met I would share the house color.  Well I picked it, but can't for the life of me remember what it was.  My best guess is Mulberry or Cherry Bark, but we'll have to see.

A couple of days before we were supposed to come home our son called.  He had been in a rollover accident on his way to a JROTC awards ceremony.  The car was totalled, but he was wearing a seatbelt.  Someone saw it and called 911.  DS called Dad on a borrowed phone.  

Dad called a friend who lives about 2 miles from the accident.  This friend took pictures of the car before and during the towing, took DS to the ER and stayed with him while they ran scans, took care of the pets until we could get home, and he and his wife took DS to their house until we could get home the next day.  The accident was on a Thursday, and on top of the ER visit our friend took him the next day to his first chiropractor visit to our family chiropractor.  

Looking back through the pictures our son went through a small tree, missed a steel power pole by a matter of feet in the singles digits, took out a barbed wire fence and landed upside down in a ditch.   Wearing a seatbelt certainly contributed to walking away instead of a far graver consequence.

I can see the hand of God all the way through this:  protection, no other cars involved, witness to call 911 until DS could find his phone and a level headed friend to get him through the initial stages until we could get home.  

Insurance?  Again God has been incredibly good.  What they have covered was more than we expected, and they aren't dragging their feet.

I was working on Manor at Peacock Hill on the trip, and I just need to finish it before going back to HEIOTS.  I need that closure.  Peacocks in the motif world stand for vanity.  What a great thing to think about.  Am I giving my best self as a parent?  What can I do to improve?  We are not guaranteed the next minute. 

We're doing okay.  DS has a couple more adjustments this week.  We're all kinda working through this, but the worst of it has worn off I think.

I'm ready to talk about something a little less heavy.  So next post I will share a little from our work trip.  Until then I'll be focusing on finishing up MaPH.

Things I'm thankful for:
  • seatbelts 
  • friends in the valley
  • cross stitch to help me work through the tough times
Until next time count your blessings--God's gifts to you.


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday Stitches

Well, it's been a very low production week this week.  I'm not giving up, but I will taking this week off from His Eye is on the Sparrow.  It should all be revealed next post.

You know what else will be revealed?  The house color.  That's right.  I have choosen to throw the color key completely out on this one--tehe.

Things that bless me:
  • suede work gloves that fit
  • wheelbarrow tires that don't go flat cuz you KNOW I'm going to overfill the wheelbarrow.
  • potable water

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


Monday, April 16, 2018

Sunday? Stitches

I had fully intended to post Sunday Stitches yesterday, but I knew I would be more awake today.  Did I stitch?  Of course I did.  :-)

I've been looking back on my progress, and here is where I was 2 months ago.

last week

The stitching of this verse was very special.  I have spent my fair share of time teaching special needs children to write.  Part of that process is across the table as I guide their hands in the formation of the letters.  The letters are rightside up for them but upside down for me.  That is exactly how I stitched the verse--very special indeed.

this week

I everything below the verse finished?  Not quite.  I ran out of Brethren Blue.  As soon as it comes in I'll finish up my little birdy.

There has been a little redecorating on my YouTube account.  The photo is still cross stitched but now looks like this.

It is spring here in Middle TN, but of course the dogwood and locust winters are still hanging on.  There was light snow falling as I sat in my yellow dusted car (pollen) waiting for our son to get out-cool.

Does anyone else have a hard time buying presents her husband?  Well, I hit the jackpot last Christmas.  Not only was it something Mr. HH would enjoy, but it was a clutter free gift.  Two Saturdays ago he finally cashed in his second gift of the same type from Groupon.  He got to drive a really fast car along a course in a parking lot, and got the ride along with the driver who turned off all the safety switches and burnt just a little rubber.  I went with and nearly froze that Spring afternoon.  It was crazy how bundled up I was for a Spring afternoon.  There were high winds and beautiful snow.  Nothing accumulated--just really pretty.  :-)

Speaking of cars.  I was at it again with the scones.  Our son was planning on making dessert.  His thinking was a berry compote, on top of Hawaiian rolls and topped with homemade whipped cream.  I cringed when I heard the roll part--even if they are sweet.  I made him scones.  I've not seen the other elements yet, but the scones are nearly gone-lol.  

What does ANY of that have to do with cars?  Maybe it's just me, but I swear I see a scone parking lot.

Would you like the recipe?

Here it is . . . straight out of my recipe box.

Heidi was really trying to act cool, but she has been really Jonesing for a scone.  Sorry, kiddo, no people food. :-(

Speaking of Heidi, we have learned she'll play fetch if we used the right toy.  She prefers anything soft.  Daniel, bless his heart, was playing fetch with her a few days ago.  Let's just say his throwing is worse than mine, so this is not a mid-air shot.  It is where the bone got lodged.  Whoopsie.

I went to Mom's last Friday.  The plan was to go to Lowes and buy a new push mower for her, mow off what I get to with the riding mower and have some lunch--not necessarily in that order.

One of the first things she asked me after getting into my car was if it had a name.  Well, I've decided to call it the Blessingmobile.  It's a great reminder I should be a blessing to those who I come into contact when I arrive.  I don't want to give anyone cause to roll their eyes when I arrive.  Mom liked the sentiment, but she suggested the name Matilda would be a nice name.  Hmm, I do too, so now the Blessingmobile is also known as Matilda.

On our way to town we pass by a home with these adorable little alpacas.What joy I feel everytime I see them. :-)

This photo has been taken of the southwest portion of my mother's property.  Do you see a dark spot with trees around it?  That dark spot used to be a pond with a single tree.  My brother used to fish there when we were kids and visiting my grandparents in the same home my mother lives now.    

Eventually, the pond drained and a sinkhole opened up.  I noticed several weeks ago the shape reminded me of a heart.  I love this land. I love the people who have lived on it, and I love getting to spend time with my mom who now lives here.  We are blessed.  

Things for which I am thankful:
  • love of history
  • the internet
  • technology that allows me to mix the two
Until next time count your blessings--God's gifts to you.