Translate

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Things Remembered

Y'all, I'm flabbergasted.  My framer called at the end of business on Saturday and said my cross stitch was finished.  Wow, that was pleasantly quick.  I'm in love with the frame.  The picture just doesn't do it justice.


The Sampler Company
Brenda Keyes
Over The Hills Sampler
Wichelt-Permin linen, 32 count, Antique White
DMC

Here is a shot of the other two colors of the same frame she posted on Facebook.  I think it's much easier to see the depth and shape of the frame here.  Yes, like you, all I get is Facebook until I pick up my new finish Tuesday afternoon.   I'm not too sad though.  It's enough to know what the design looks like framed.  I think that's what excites me the most when I drop off a design.


I still don't have a place to put it yet.  I've ordered another Shaker Shelf for the dining room (like in the picture below).  Those take about 8-10 weeks to arrive once I've placed the order.  It's on this Shaker Shelf I will be placing my newly framed piece.

Mom always sends a little money for my birthday, and this last May she kept her status as the best ever gift giver.  I purchased this cobweb broom--something I've wanted a while. Not only are they beautiful, but in my woodsy neighborhood we get our fair share of spiderwebs from time to time.   So the broom isn't just a "pretty face". :-)


This girl loves to spend money wisely, and the company from which I ordered the shelf  and broom was giving a 20% discount on orders if I bought any oval box.  Well, no one had to twist my arm :-).  I purchased the smallest painted box they had.  I love it, and look forward to building my red, yellow, blue and green Shaker box family.  For now, the blue box looks pretty where it is but might also get used as a box for thread clippings. 


The larger boxes came from my husband as a Christmas gift.  Last fall I was helping Mom clean out the back porch.  This meant I came home with some very sentimental items like cookie cutters from my childhood.  Many Barefoot Sanders cookies were made with these cutters during the fall and winter holidays.  Of course I needed storage.  Eureka!  Why, I could use Shaker pantry boxes, of course!  "Honey, I know what I want for Christmas."  This box is much bigger than it looks, and my burgeoning baking cabinets where happy the cookie cutters had some other place to live :-).



The top box in the stack hid my Mother's Day gift from our son.  My son and I share the love of dark chocolate, so it wasn't really hard to know what would thrill my soul.  Sadly, the box is now empty.  Probably just as well-lol.


Speaking of Mother's Day. . . My husband did incredibly well.  He gave me this new design, Polly Brown, with the called for fabric and threads.  I'm in love.  Okay, you got me.  I ordered it with his blessing. :-)

Eszter of SubRosa Design is an amazing designer from Budapest, Hungary.  I'm in love with her patterns, and I love that they are digital downloads.  They remind me so much of Stacey Nash.  

You can find a better photo of this design here in her Etsy store.  


The fabric and threads came a few days later from 123stitch.  I did change the pinky reds to a deeper red.  There are a couple of colors missing because I already had them in my stash.  I know the lighting is terrible, but believe me.  The colors are absolutely divine.  Of course, I'm dying to get started, but in true Judy fashion I need to wait until I have finished Yuletide Welcome--sigh.


Here is the shelf where Polly will live during the summer.  She certainly will be more at home than the bunnies.   

I've now realized these ceramic rabbits, my grandmother made my mother when I was a child, are not in the best spot.  Here, you see one of Abigail's favorite cat toys that undoubtedly sailed over the stairs and landed solidly on the shelf below.  I may or may not have caught the yellow bunny calling realtors the other day.  It might be time for a pre-summer move.


Two things I happily thought would be true about Yuletide Welcome.  
One, I would skip stitching in the banner.   Two, there would be no design changes like Ghoultide (Autumn) Welcome.  Well, I will definitely be filling in the banner-bummer.  Sadly, I couldn't wrap my brain around Santa, so guess who's made a design change.  I love the change I have chosen, but to get the new motif to fit, my needle and thread will be stitching over one on 32 count.  Stitching over one, how I love thee [shaking my head "no"].



I'm about half-way through my Couch to 5K (3.1 miles) training plan with Heidi.  We are greatly blessed to have a mostly tree covered Greenway in my area.  It makes running in the hottest part of summer even possible.


But even with the cooler route I will need to begin putting on the cooling vest on Heidi now that it's above 80 degrees.  At some point I'll need to bring her collapsible water bowl with us, but right now she drinks while I stretch and start the air conditioning in the car.  :-)


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

Judy

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Up Until Now, Part 2

Looking in my cross stitch drawer for something stitch related the other day I began to get that itchy twitchy feeling.  The drawer wasn't nearly as neat and tidy as I like.  I knew it was time.  My husband has been encouraging me for months to frame my projects, but I haven't been able to bring myself to it. We all know the cost involved with quality framing, and I can be a little tight reserved when it comes to framing my finishes.  I grew up in a household where my parents had to be very wise with their money, and those examples still effect my decisions all these years later.

In spite of all this I have decided to take the big step and frame one a month.  Yep, I think I can do that.  Baby steps, right?  After that I will frame as I finish.  The first project was finished about four years ago.  Both sides of my mother's ancestry come from England, so this one is a bit special.  Mom also has a love of red and our military.  For these reasons and more this project really reminds me of her, and I love it.   Lynn always does such a great job, and I'm in love with the frame we chose.  

The Sampler Company
Brenda Keyes
Over The Hills Sampler
Wichelt-Permin linen, 32 count, Antique White
DMC


One thing leads to another.  Mom needed some help getting the branches of the cedar off the roof of the old emu barn, so we started trimming at the bottom.  (I don't ask.  I just follow her lead--usually.) She's already drug quite a bit of the cuttings into the woods by the time I took this picture, but believe me those lower branches were about 8 feet long. Mom choose hand tools, so that's what we used-a pruner and a hand saw.  I didn't think it was that big of a deal, but Mom felt a little guilty for how hard I was working with the hand saw.

We realize the cedar is way too close to close to the barn, but when my parents planted it 17 years ago (in honor of our son's birth) it was supposed to be cut down for a Christmas tree.  For now, we are trimming it up.


My mother's new official nickname for me is Jane Bunyon.  The joke is I'm Paul Bunyon's sister from American folklore.  I don't know that he had a sister in the story, but in our new version he did, and I am she.  I hardly think I deserve my new name, but if it helps my mom except help on the farm I'll be milking it for all it's worth. :-)



After the tree trimming Mom thought I had worked too hard, so she decided it was time to invest in a battery powered chainsaw.  It's a little hard to tote the corded one around the property.  Off she went to Lowe's to buy one.  The folks at her Lowe's are so sweet and helpful.  She thought 12 pounds would be something she could tote around, but the sales staff were not all that sure she would be able to operate it.  They were totally right with her mind going.   No worries, I operated it for her, and a second battery is on the way, so the chainsaw isn't finished before we are.

This cherry branch fell a couple of weeks ago in a storm.  It's going to make great firewood for the stove in a about a year.  Wood needs to dry for a good year before it's actually ready to be burnt for the hottest fire with the least amount of smoke.


This was the point I sent my more careful Mom away to put up the wood.  I needed time to encourage the branch around to my way of thinking so we could cut some more. :-)


Have you been watching Dickensian on PBS this Spring?  Dickensian has been very smartly written using 19th century characters and story lines adapted from the books and stories written by Charles Dickens.  They have been mashed up to create a new engaging plot.  Reviews have been wonderful.  I will say there were a couple of scenes I chose to fast forward through, but in general I've been a faithful follower.  One reviewer seemed to be a very loyal Dickens fan and felt the spirit of the story line was not true to the character of the Charles Dickens.  This is written for a 21st century audience, so I find that very possibly true--19th century hopeful and virtuous vs. a little more 21st century grim.  I think this has caused me to want to go back and find some Dickens audio books at my library.  I like to listen to something while I stitch, and Dickens would be a good choice.

That being said . . . 

There are so many history buffs in the cross stitch world and I thought this might pique your interest as it did mine.  I find myself subconsciously scanning for samplers or other types of needlework.  I think it was the third episode of Dickensian, I noticed Alexandra Moen who plays Frances Barbary stitching a sampler.  I was dying to find out if it were an antique pattern or a new one.  BBC online shopping was no help, so I researched it how I normally would--key words and Google.  Yep, easy find.

The Lord is my Shepherd Psalm 23 Sampler
My Big Toe Designs

The next episode gave us another glimpse, and I was thrilled to see that the prop people had her a little further along.  Props to the prop people!  Sadly, I haven't seen the sampler back yet for another episode.  There is still time.  Internet research shows there are 20 episodes, and I'm only halfway there.


Speaking of Shepherds, we have a new family member.  My husband turned 50 this year, so he understandably wanted a really good gift.  We now have an incredibly loving, sweet, loyal and protective full-blooded German Shepherd named Heidi.  She's originally a rescue by a family who was unable to keep her.  Here's to believing she's now in her forever home.  A big thank you to our kitty to her tolerance of her new "little sister".


In other news, It was finally time to rotate my current project on the frame.  Normally, I wouldn't mount a project like this, but the regular mounting wouldn't allow for me to stitch on the plane--too wide.


Because we flew back on Southwest the seats were unassigned.  The half-full flight gave DH and I the luxury to sit in the back of the plane with a seat in the middle.  I didn't realize when we chose our seats the light above mine didn't work.  Let's just say I leaned in toward the middle so I could see better.  Even without the overhead lighting, the space was a luxury. 


Any "His Eye is on the Sparrow"  or "Dutch Beauty" fans out there?  Me too, and I have both patterns.  Sadly, I needed a new frame to accommodate the size--one that wouldn't bow.  This frame from Needle Needs was my Christmas Gift from my husband two years ago.  I've had a Rolaframe for over 20 years.  The shorter ones are great, but the longer they are the more the bow in at the middle point.  This means tight tension on the sides and poor tension in the middle. 

I purchased the widest one Needle Needs sells.  The maximum usable fabric width on my new frame is 36 inches.  The total length is 40 inches, and the red mule chest I had made a few months ago was sized to fit this frame.  This "monster" is extremely sturdy without even a hint of bowing.  I absolutely love it.   The second or third day I kept thinking how heavy it felt compared to my old frame (.86 lbs.), so I weighed it on my digital kitchen scale.  Would you believe it weighed in at 2.75 pounds?    Right now I have it propped up on footstools so I can stitch on the floor, but soon I will be modifying my floor stand to accommodate this frame.

I am so in love with this frame that I have ordered the 20 inch bars so I can stitch in the car.  The bar parks were available again, so into the cart they went.  Needle Needs is a family business in England who hand makes nearly everything they sell.  I'm just hoping my order arrives by October.  It's a long drive to the Myrtle Beach Retreat in October, and I like to stitch in the car.


My husband and I like to ride horses when we leave country on the company trip.  I think it goes back to our first date of riding horses, or maybe just sitting on them.  The horses at those stables were notorious for going nowhere unless the staff was leading them on the trail. 

But, here we are still loving horses here in Costa Rica.  I was sitting on "average horse" which was just fine with me :-).  All horses are amazing in my eyes.  However, the camera just couldn't come close to showing how beautiful my husband's horse was.  I think we would have needed a side shot for that. 


I want to leave you with the highlight of the 2 hour ride into the Costa Rican mountains.  We were allowed to gallop at sunset on the beach.  I was so full of awe and joy that I began to tear up.  I will never forget that trip--just my husband, me and our wonderful guide.  We are incredibly blessed.


video
Sweet friends, this video may not play if you are on your phone, but I was able to get it to play on my laptop--enjoy.

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

Judy







  

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Up Until Now

Oh, dear.  It's been four and a half months without a peep from me.  I'm planning on giving you the Reader's Digest version.  This post will be a bit picture heavy and will be followed by a part two.

Tennessee had yet one more wacky winter.  The Persian Lilac was blooming about 3 weeks ahead of schedule, and that can't help but make me smile.



We have only one boot store in my town, so we went there in March to get a new pair of boots.  I wanted them brown, functional, beautiful and with a toe that could thread a needle.  I told this to the shop girl, and she brought me to these.  They were perfect.  We paid for them and walked right out the door.  Shoe shopping has never been this easy for me.  I'll show pictures later.  To celebrate the purchase, and to have the first date in a long while, we went to a local restaurant.
Waiting in the trunk

I haven't a clue what I was eating, but it's always fun to take a picture of my husband taking a picture of his food.  I think he does this so he can tag a co-worker who always tags him at restaurants.



But, seriously, this was the most important part of the meal--chocolate cake. :-)



The end of March found me completing my first piece of the year.  It is a freebie from Lori Brechlin.



It was time to start working on the quilt again, so I did.


Until I realized I was about 6 blocks short to complete the main section of the quilt.  BREAK TIME.  


Did someone say break?  Yes, my friends, after 54 years of faithful service one of the bobbins finally broke while making my second quilt.


What? How are you working on a second quilt?  Didn't you just take a break from the first one?  Um, yes, but then someone (don't know who) decided to throw a baby shower for a sweet lady having her 4th baby.

So off to the quilt shop I went for fabric, some direction and a little courage.  God bless those quilt shop owners.  I think they wear super hero capes.  This is the lap quilt we came up with.


Chunky Halves Pattern with Moda and French General fabrics
In April we were blessed again to win the company trip.  This year the location was in Costa Rica and the local area did not disappoint.  

Let's just start with the plane trip down.  Dramamine now makes me extremely sleepy.  This is not how I want to feel on a plane full of strangers, so I looked for another solution.  This year I decided on trying Motioneaze.  It is a combination of natural oils, and it works fantastically.  There was no motion sickness in spite of some bumpy moments and no negetive side-effects.

We flew Southwest, and I think I found my new favorite airline.  The flight attendants were very nice, no carts up and down the aisles for snacks, and no assigned seating.  While waiting for everyone to board I noticed a bag that made me giggle a little.  I'm hoping this wasn't based on passenger history.

Getting a snack was as easy as taking orders and then coming back with whatever you desired.  For me it was coffee.  The little heart topped stirrer was a nice touch I thought. :-)

 One of the blessings of a window seat during the day is the views.  How I love those views.

Yes, I know this is out of order,  but I don't want to forget to show you this volcano I saw just north of Costa Rica on the way home.  It's the smoking mountain in the middle. 


Of course, I needed more than coffee for a pleasant flight.  My new project was Plum Street Samplers' "Yuletide Welcome".  I had hoped to stitch and listen to podcasts or a book, but that was a little difficult with earbuds.  I'm thinking I need to invest in a pair of noise canceling headphones.  The whooshing of a plane was much louder than I remembered.  

When traveling I like to stitch an area I don't need the design for.  The roof was perfect on the way over.  I was sitting next to the window and had great light.

I think what surprised me the most was how many people were interested in and appreciated what I was working on.  I left the home thinking my husband's co-workers and traveling companions are going to think I'm an old lady before my time.  These are modern business people, and I think like an early 19th century woman.  

Before getting on the first plane I had already found a fellow stitcher.  This wife of one the employees had to stopped due to Parkinson's Disease.  While on the plane, the couple in the diagonal row behind me wanted to see what I was working on to ooh and aah over it.  How could I possibly know where to stitch?  The lady had done cross stitch as child.  She had lines on hers to tell her where to stitch. I'm sure it's obvious to you, but it finally occurred to me she was working on a printed pattern not aida.  Both the man and woman, both young, thought the pattern was beautiful.  Of course I think so, but I never expected this reaction from my husband's company folks.  There were more oohs, aahs and appreciation as our travels paused in Costa Rica and on the way home.  

I have learned a lesson not to prejudge folks' tastes in hobbies, etc.--again.  I also learned to bring a much smaller design for the plane.  I placed it on the Rolaframe sideways just so it would fit in the space of my airplane seat.  In spite of that I always felt I was taking up too much space.


One of the things that excites me the most about these trips is the surrounding nature.  I have just fallen in love with the trunks that weave up to the branches.

 This tree was probably one of my favorites for its yellow blooms.



 I never loose excitement over seeing a new species of bird.
 Beautiful branch structure as we left to go home.

I'm kicking myself for not getting up with the sun earlier, but 5:30 seemed a little difficult.  The last morning I met two siblings I named Costa and Rica.  What entertainment they were.  There was lots of play fighting and chasing you'd recognize with kittens.  The resort is on a nature reserve, so  there is nothing to be done about the wildlife.  Fortunately, it didn't seem to be overrunning the guests or staff.



I had great fun watching this little guy.  Squirrel?


I am not a morning person, so my DH graciously agreed to get room service.  The first morning he got the Costa Rican Breakfast.
 I, on the other hand got something off of the healthy part of the menu because I liked all the ingredients.  Sadly, this also meant almost no calories--sigh.  Well, I had my coffee.
 This isn't what I ate that first day, but it's comparable to portion size.  I clearly am a slow learner.  Good flavor though.
   This girl couldn't get enough salad, and my new favorite dressing was the basil mayonaise--so yummy. :-)

With all this food it was time for a walk along the beach.  It's kind of a tradition with us.



 No, I don't think I can help it. I see a tree and I want to climb it.





You know when the staff hands you a map as soon as you arrive things might be a little challenging to navigate.  I finally took a picture with me phone, so I wouldn't need the map.  It wasn't holding up well with the humidity.

A little gift shop humor. :-)

 No, I didn't go home with him, but isn't he just adorable?
No trip to Costa Rica would be complete without a little crafting.  DH was such a good sport. 
 This was way harder than cross stitch, but I did get there with lots of laughing and smiles. :-)

For every activity there must be balance so we hopped on our four wheelers and drove up to the ziplines.



 What a beautiful sunset on the way back.

I did get a little stitching done outside.  With the heat and humidity most of my little Xs were completed in the room.

Another tradition of these trips is horseback riding with my hubby.
 I realized too late I shouldn't have been holding onto the saddle horn so tightly. I am such a Blister Queen.
Still having fun--blister or not. :-)

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

Judy