Homespun Gathering

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.   Lynne 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

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.

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.




  1. Wow to your Over The Hills Sampler! My daughter is awed by it!! Hello Heidi, you beautiful girl! Good for you guys. Two of our poodles were rescues. :D The picture of you two on the horses is fantastic!

  2. Hello Judy,

    I look forward to the final result, the sampler framed. It's beautiful!
    Love your dog, German Shepherd dogs are such loyal friends. Wishing you a good time together!

    Have a good day & Dutvh waves across the ocean, Carolien


Thank you so much for your sweet comments. It always brightens my day, and draws us closer as a community.