Monday, November 13, 2017

My Random Life

I would like to say a public "Thank You" to all that left such sweet comments on my last post.   They came in on a day that I wasn't even close to feeling well.  It was somewhere between cold and flu.  I'm on the mend, but remember the encouragement on that Friday.  It was the best medicine.

I picked Polly up on Saturday, and I love her.  My color changes have made me really happy.  Nothing disappears into the linen which is important to me.  Polly now keeps me company up in my office nook.  I love this design so much that I'm already thinking about how I can change her up for the other three seasons.  I'm calling this one Summer.

P.S. If Polly looks familiar you're right.  I put her in Santa's place on Yuletide Welcome-over one.

TheSubRosaDesign (Etsy)
Polly Brown
Linen, 36 count, Edinburgh Ale
WDW threads

The beginning of September had me starting on His Eye is on the Sparrow.  I thought, "I'll have this one done in 6-12 months."  God laughed.    It started well enough.  I'm so glad I dug deep and purchased the called for linen.  Somehow the camera picks up a much sharper mottling than I see in person, and I'm really pleased with it.  Since I always start in the middle I placed my needle there so I dind't make any silly mistakes when getting fabric in the frame.

But, friends, mistakes come.  I had to stitch this tree twice.  Come on girl focus!

The closer I stitched to the bottom of the tree the more nervous I felt.  At this point there was no possibility of denial.   My math was correct, but there were two sets of numbers on my worksheet.  There was design size and cut size.  If I ordered the cut size from 123stitch I'd have this massive amount of linen left over that I may never use.  This is why I avoided buying it.  That and the larger amount was a larger price than I wanted to pay.  In a moment of weakness (weeks later) I saw the design size, got excited and ordered it.  I must have looked at the wrong number before, and now there's no leftovers!  Hurrah!


Fortunately, for me I had not stitched much--only about a day into the project.  At its current state the tree looked like a lamppost, and I'm thrilled to have seen the light early.

So here the frogging begins.  I'm sure y'all love to un-stitch as much as I do (cough cough).

So now I'm left with these gaping holes in my 28 count linen.  Yep, they are still there.  But, thanks to the super heroines at The Attic I have another piece of linen coming my way, cut to size and keeping it company in the package is a skein of orange overdyed floss I will be auditioning for Christmas Garden.  Yes, I know that's not right, but I promise you it will be beautiful when Christmas Garden turns into Autumn Garden.  

September found me in the baking mood again.  I love to make no-knead bread in a Dutch oven--so delicious.  This one was  a black pepper basil.  Unfortunately, the ratios were quite off in this loaf, but the loaf that went to my beloved framer was just right.

Here, I gave into the reality that my pot was not nonstick.  Yes, Judy, you really are going to have to cut a piece of parchment for the second bake every time.  I think this will be less time consuming than extricating the toast remaining on the bottom of the pot each time I use it-sigh.

Several months ago I found and began following a podcast by two sisters--The Baking Podcast.  Each week they discuss a recipe or two sprinkled with lively sisterly banter about their weeks and the process they are going through to begin a baking business while still holding down two full time jobs.  

In this particular week I was listening to a podcast from May and listening to them talk about this amazing muffin.   People would ask for the recipe, but whenever asked if they'd made it the answer was always "no".  After looking at the ingredients it was pretty clear to me.  Almost every ingredient had to be weighed out--including the eggs.  I was not daunted and got out my digital scale.  Sure enough.  That is one tasty muffin. :-)  You may find the recipe and the podcast here.

Mid-September our son was part of a Junior ROTC color guard for a local Welcome Home Veteran event.  I love that he gets to be part of the community in support of our veterans.    It was hosted on the grounds of a local winery, and in one section could be found a display of flags.  

Each one honored a service member.

At the end of the program several parachuters jumped in with various large flags like this one honoring Purple Heart recipients.

The last flag to arrive was Old Glory--over 1,200 square feet.

I know I shouldn't mess with my husband after a long day, but the opportunity was just too good to pass up.  "Hey, honey, the Army has these new berets with built-in antennas so solders can listen to music while they wait."  Then I showed him this picture of our son (smiling on the inside).  Truth be told it was just a pole with attached power lines, but once you see some things you can't unsee them, and we both got a good chuckle.

After the His Eye is on the Sparrow snafu I had to stitch something, so I decided to to pick up the cross stitch portion of a Stacy Nash retreat class at Country Sampler.  My friend Debby had gone and had her finished piece for Show and Tell at a Homespun Gathering in 2016.  I called and there was one left . . . well no anymore (tehe).    This is just one of the smalls I completed before I try to finish them all at the same time.

Then I moved onto Dearie and Darling by Kathy Barrick.  Let's just say this one will take while since I'm not just changing more than a few floss colors.   Oh, this disease of mine.  I think that's why I'm being so firm with myself in not changing a thing on my current project.  Yes, this one is still undone and will be until Current Project is completed.

I must have been in a stitcher's slump because this drum pynkeep I was stitching for a retreat class in October also gave me fits.  I didn't find my mistake until I had almost completely stitched this entire row.  A froggin' we did go.  The drum was designed to meet up in the back.  No leaving this mistake. :-(

At this point I feel like my slump is over, and I'm so thankful.

Stay tuned for more about the retreat.

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


Thursday, November 9, 2017

It's Fall Y'all

Fall has finally arrived here in Middle Tennessee.  It started with temperatures in the upper 80s to lower 90's.  But now we are seeing much more sensible temps in the 50s and 60s.  The fall color has not disappointed, and the house has just enough autumnal/Thanksgiving decoration to make me happy and not so much I dread switching it out for Christmas.

So what is the first picture for this fall post?  Why, it's a Christmas finish--of course.   I took Yuletide to Lynne this month, and I must say I just love the frame we picked out.  I had a cousin comment on FaceBook that it looked German to her.  I hadn't really seen it that way, but I guess it does look a little like a fraktur.

Paulette Stewart
Plum Street Samplers
Yuletide Welcome
Lakeside Linens, 36 count, Vintage Buttercream

Here it is in it's new spot (for now) with my stockings from Carriage House Samplings and some Thanksgiving decorations.  Do you recognize the shelf?  That's right.  This shelf started out as a Shaker shelf then became this shelf with two tones and no plate rail.  Now, we have all navy and a plate rail.  I couldn't be happier.  It now feels like my dining room has been hugged.  I've just thrown a few things up there for now, but later I plan to decorate it for real.  

I hadn't realized how long it had been since I'd posted until I found another monthly framing was ready--zheesh.  Where did that blogging mojo go?  

Onward and Upward!

October's Offering was Hollyberry Farm.  She's been waiting for quite a while. Note the finish date above the house.  I'm thrilled to have her out this Christmas.
Stacy Nash
Christmas at Hollyberry Farm
called for linen, count and floss

The end of September brought us to Linda's.  She graciously invites us to her home each September and we have a great time stitching, fellowshipping, eating and general shenanigans.  

This September the dining room table was full of many delightful finishes, punch needle, wool, knitting and of course cross stitch.

Lucille knits many beautiful prayer shawls, but this month she was sharing a scarf.

Jane brought in a finished a portion of a Summer kit from the Stacy Nash Girls Club from Country Sampler.  Jan is an amazing stitcher and finisher, and I look forward to seeing it.

Linda had about a dozen of her finished blocks from her nearly finished wool sampler (Primitive Quilts) -- all so beautiful.  

Lori was working on Funky Bird from Barbara Ana Designs.  I just love the color combination.

Of course, where there is sewing ripping isn't far behind.  This ripping was done with scissors.  I must admit I have never had the confidence to remove any stitches with scissors.  This is one brave woman!

I was working on Dearie and Darling by Kathy Barrick.  All I'm going to say at this point is this.  I decided to stitch the design in DMC like Let Heaven and Nature Sing, but after pulling the colors I realized it wasn't going to be the companion piece to HaNS like I thought.  That and the DMC choices for Darling appeared coral.  Nope, that wasn't going to work.  The blue jays will be turning back into cardinals, the swan's lake will be filled in for something else, etc., etc., etc.  Is this the inner designer coming out in me?  

Okay, I clearly needed a backup plan.  There was a retreat coming up in Myrtle Beach, so I ordered the fabric for another design desperately hoping it would come in before we left on Fall Break.  Stay tuned to find out if it did.  

Here are a couple more of mine.  I walked past and noticed Linda's sweet cat had deemed them nap worthy.  I love this photograph.

Plum Street Sampler's Yuletide Welcome
Brenda Keyes" Red House Sampler

Jacqueline had been working on Kind Fond Love by Brenda Keyes last September.  I was so excited to see it framed--just gorgeous.

She brought several others with her--here are just two more of her goodies.

This September our Homespun Gathering was celebrating Linda's birthday and retirement, so on the table were delicious and beautiful cookies.  It was nearly time to go when I finally got a picture of what was left, but I think you can appreciate them just the same.

There is plenty more to share (stitching and otherwise), but for now I will save it for the next post.

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


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Summer's End

Thank you ladies for your sweet comments.  The turtle does not have a name since it is wild and my imagination isn't.  I'm sure someone out there is creative enough to christen our sweet little turtle.

Well, the shelf saga continues.  We did send the Shaker shelf back, and I decided not to attempt buying another one.  The local shelf was finished and picked up by my husband.  I love this family business.  They have been in business 30 years this month, and I'm thrilled to have another piece from them.  Unfortunately, I wasn't clear enough with what I thought I was asking for.  I thought I was getting a completely navy piece with a plate rail.  Sadly, no plate rail and the stain bead board.  Let me say this again.  I take full responsibility for the lack of clarity.  I know how much heart and soul goes into each handmade piece, and it nearly killed me to take it back.  I can't tell you how good they were to me.  I'll just leave it there.  This family is amazing.  I'm just glad these shelves sell like hot cakes.  For the record, my husband and son both like the two-toned look (sigh).

Is it up yet?  Nope, I was so happy to pick up the re-made shelf that I completely forgot to have the piece signed and dated.  It will be Saturday before it stops raining long enough for me to bring it back.  But if there are breaks in the clouds when I'm home during business hours . . . guess where I'm going. :-)

This month I took in Ghoultide (Autumn) Welcome for framing.  I absolutely love the frame.  It's still in the packaging since I've been taking it places for Show and Tell.  Autumn doesn't begin until September 22nd anyway.

Paulette Stewart
Plum Street Samplers
Ghoultide Welcome
Wichelt-Permin linen, 32 count, Lambswool

With a sparkle in her eye (I could hear over the phone) my mother told me she had found some things of mine while going through the closet in my old room.  Honestly, I thought I had cleared all that out 22 years ago when I got married.   Nope.  Of course there were the innocuous things like a sad little tennis racket.  I'm not sure how much use it got.  Doesn't one have to actually make contact with the ball for wear to occur?

The shocker of the day was a few too many letters from several love interests in my single days.  What's a girl to do?  This one decided to have a boyfriend bonfire to destroy the evidence.  Nothing but ashes left, and I feel so much better. :-)  My fire pit is on it's last leg, so I'm really glad she held up for at least this one last mission of mercy.

Were you able to enjoy the eclipse this month?  Mom wasn't all that excited and decided to defrost her mother's standing freezer since the day was so hot.   I, on the other hand, was very excited and had an app that told me what was happening and when--very cool.  The dog was a bit anxious, but the cat was predictably unimpressed

I figured I was safe to take this one with my phone if I protected the lens with my glasses.  I did make sure my phone blocked my eyes from the sun.  Safety first, kids.

Now, what stitcher doesn't want to stitch during an eclipse?  I took full advantage of this and I was able to stitch during the middle of a sunny day without sunglasses or squinting--what a thrill.

I did finish the house, and the only thing that doesn't remind me of dessert is the green foundation.

Speculaas cookie siding
Marshmallow window frames and corner quoins
Licorice window panes and shingles
Black Cherry door and chimineys
And she's done.  I'm still a little confused how a project can be stitched in a month.  When I show you the framed piece in December I'll give you the color changes I made in the siding and reds.
Polly Brown
SubRosa Design
Our Homespun Gathering was this past Saturday. It was a delight as usual--amazing food offerings.  Dutch Beauty even made a much anticipated appearance by one of our stitchers.  That one is in my stash, and It was wonderful to see it stitched up.  She's about 95% finished.  

Cathy had several lovely projects, but this is one that caught my eye.  I could totally do this.  She stitched it to wool with ties on either side.  And . . . it might encourage me to finish another small--not my strong suit.

Okay, this picture will be doing double duty.  I took it without realizing my fuzzy slippers were included.  Anne hooked this rug for a small set of wood movable steps she has at home.  When I grow up, I too will punch and hook rugs. :-)

So, back to the fuzzy puppy slippers.  The meeting room we use at the library is famous for being cold enough to hang meat in the summer.  At our last meeting my feet were extremely cold, so this past weekend I brought my cute fuzzy slippers that have only been worn for Fun Feet Day with my preschoolers.  When I was packing up to leave Cathy very sweetly asked if I was planning on wearing them out to the parking lot. Um, well, no not exactly.  Good friends don't allow friends to wear fuzzy slippers into the parking lot.  

So now that I've worked through the last two projects on the stitching list, I'm finally able to begin my homework for the October retreat in Myrtle Beach.  I'm taking a class on making a drum pinkeep from Beth at Summer House Stitche Workes.  I've desperately needed this, and I feel very blessed to get to learn this skill in person.  I'll also taking a berry making class, but those cuties will have to wait until the drum stitching is done.

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


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Welcome Finish

Oh my goodness, where were my manners in the last post, y'all.  I had meant to thank you so much for your sweet comments on my "Yuletide Progress" from early July.  So without further ado the backyard suburban turtle and I would like to thank you so much for those sweet comments.  I never take my stitching friends for granted.  I know how blessed I am, and boy am I grateful for them.  The shelf saga continues, but more on that next post.

When last we met I had taken the Brenda Keyes sampler to my framer.  I wish I had been able to post a better photo of the before, but at the time of that finish I had a very cheap camera and a flip phone.  Lynne has graciously agreed to take a photo of my samplers before putting them in the museum glass, so here she is all framed.  Whahoo . . . Happy Dance!  I've decided to put this one in my office nook.  It will be the first cross stitch piece in there, and I'm thinking maybe it will encourage me to use my desk more often.  Maybe?  That office chair is pretty but might need one of those blow up rubber circle cushion thingies so I last longer than 20 minutes.  Age is not for whimps.

Brenda Keyes
The Sailor's Wife
Wichelt-Permin linen, 32 count, Lambswool

After talking with the Homespun Ladies in June I had convinced myself to go with a different linen.  Whoah, not so fast.  I started to think about it again and googled "His Eye is on the Sparrow".  The first picture that came up was a Instagram photo one of my Homespun friends had posted of her Sparrow progress.  Okay, maybe the called for linen isn't that bad.  Judy, put your big girl panties on, and just order it.  There are a lot of motifs.  That should tone down the contrast right?  So I ordered.

Yeh, I think I might actually like this linen.

With around 25 overdyeds there were A LOT of threads to buy, but I don't think I can do this one with DMC.  It just wouldn't feel right.  The plan, for now, is to stitch one over two.  There isn't much coverage that way, but so many historic samplers were stitched like this, and I absolutely love a homespun historic sampler, y'all.  I'm still short a color, but maybe it will be back in stock at 123stitch by the time I'm ready to start, or I can find it somewhere else.

I've lived with my Needle Needs Millennium frame for a while now, and we are getting to know each other.  What I'm learning  . . .
*Well, I guess this 40" frame actually does bow a bit.  See below picture.
*Bowing or not the tension is still REALLY good all the way through.
*Unlike my Rolaframes, the bars don't budge or loosen with use.
*I still will need my Rolaframes for a small projects, and maybe that will encourage me to actually do some small projects. 
*Yes, I can get the fabric drum tight, but be advised.  The horizontal linen fibers will begin to separate a bit at the bars.
*I don't need drum tight tension to be completely happy.  
*It is incredibly important to square up the fabric by pulling threads before placing it on the frame.
*I may have a favorite style frame, and this one is it.  Oh dear.

I learned a really cool feature with my phone's camera.  Even with readers I couldn't tell what the color was supposed to be for the over one lettering on Yuletide.  I suppose I should just guess, but I would rather know the actual color.  Thanks to the zoom feature on my phone I was able to figure out which skein of DMC to pull. Great timing.  My husband had been having difficulty reading the ingredients on food items even with his readers.  Now he can just use his phone.  Yippee for the "old folks" at home. :-)

The preschool where I teach has a mascot for each classroom.  Before this year I was the Peacock Teacher.  As the Peacock teacher I wanted my kiddos to know all about peacocks, so I did a little research.   First, only the males are peacocks.  The females are called peahens.  As a whole the birds are called peafowl.  I love how Paulette designed two peacocks.  Each offered a rose to the single peahen.    I suppose one could interpret this many ways, but this is my take.  The peacock is the same lover but at two different times of his life--young and old.  I'm sure I'm plagiarizing someone (but who?), but the verse that keep running through my head was  . . . 

I loved you once
I love you still 
I loved you first 
And always will

It's slightly romantic on my side of the fence.

I'm not much of a flower grower, but if I could grow some in a pot they would look like these.

One thing we have talked about at the Gathering is all these little girls who are stitching samplers at such young ages--8, 10, 12 years old.  I started to think about it.  Well, why not.  Development hasn't changed in the last 200 years, so why wouldn't I be able to start teaching little girls how to stitch.  The plan is to gather with three girls and their moms for some regular stitching time.  I have taught all three of these girls, aged 5-7, and have a special connection with them and mom.  I already have a yes from one.  I will be asking the next two soon.  

I love the photo below.  I reminds me of a couple of weeks ago when I took my stitch to a Sunday evening ice cream social at church.  My five year old girl from above got to try out some stitching on Yuletide, and decided she would like to learn how to cross stitch.  While we sat there a 4 year old boy and his sister came by and were mesmerized.  The little boy was 4 and wanted to try, so why not?  His stitches are in there too.   After talking with the boy's mom I found out a needle and thread were already in his genes, and she was going to get him some tools to maybe begin a new hobby.  What a great night.  

After we got home our son made an observation.  "Mom I don't want to offend you.  I actually mean this as a compliment.  You attract preschoolers like an old lady attracts cats.  Except you give the preschoolers back."  LOL, he might be right.  Preschoolers are definitely where my heart is.

Here is the completed "Yuletide Welcome" by Plum Street Samplers and a couple of my modifications.  She'll go visit Lynne in September for her final makeover in the frame shop.

My sister and family came in to visit this past month.  It seems whenever they come down from Upstate New York, Tennessee has a heat advisory.  They made it through and we had a nice visit.  I was tasked with a few dishes including apple pie.  My pie crust was recipe I've been using for several years now.  Buying dessert or any element in it isn't how I roll.  The pie filling came from America's Test Kitchen, and it called for 4 pounds of sliced and pealed apples--4 pounds, y'all.  That is a bunch of apples.  I wasn't all that convinced they would all fit in my regular pie plate let alone my Dutch oven.   They did fit in the Dutch oven for cooking down, but I chickened out and made the pie in a cast iron skillet.  Hmm, that was pretty smart.  Think I'll do that again.  :-)

I did learn one thing though.  When a recipe calls for 4 pounds of apples cut your pie slices a lot smaller.  I could have gotten 10-12 slices out of the pie without skimping.  That first slice was huge.

My parents used to raise emus on the farm.  The emus are long gone but the post that used to provide a gate hinge make a great holder for my water bottle while I get the lawn mower ready for  cutting the fields.

Mom has agreed to let me buy her a new safety can for the riding lawn mower.  Her current 5 gallon can is plastic, no top, and not fire arrester for safety.  In a couple of months I think I'll sneak in a 2.5 gallon safety can for the push mowers.   Below is the one my dad used to fill the tractor.  That tractor spent a lot of time in the fields until it just wouldn't run anymore.  After Dad died Mom was able to find a buyer for it.  He was thrilled to get it, and mom was thrilled to sell it to him.  Dad and I spent many an hour on that aging work horse of a red tractor.  I remember getting around the field 2 or 3 times before having to fill the radiator back up.  I also remember where every one of those thorn trees were on the edge of the back field.  Good times.  That sweet tractor is now in a field up north somewhere with about 100 other tractors.  May she rest in peace.

Time is limited during the school year, so during the summer my needles tend to be flying.  Now that Yuletide is completed it was time to begin Polly Brown from SubRosa Designs.

I'm so in love with this linen--36 count Edinburgh Ale by Picture this Plus.  I have a little more difficulty seeing the holes due to color but not enough to give up.  The colors are phenomenal, and in true Judy style I'm stitching methodically again with my color blocking method.

It is so much fun to watch this design grow.

I have such a love for red that I changed out her reds (WDW Baked Apple and Cinnabar) for GA Country Redwood--so pretty.

The design calls for Oak for the siding on the house.  This color shows up in her picture but on my linen it all but disappears a few feet away.  

So after I rip off the oak siding I'll put up the new.  There is a possibility the foundation color may also change to coordinate with the siding, but I'll cross that bridge when I get there.  No doubt I'm in love with this one, and I've already picked out the frame.  I'm really hoping it works.

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