Sunday, October 4, 2015

Creating a Monster

Happy happy October - my very favorite beach month! An early walk on Pass-a-Grille Beach this  morning turned up a perfect shark's tooth and a tiny octopus rolling in the surf. No pictures to share - some things just have to be experienced.

I mentioned last post that September would be riddled with trips around the state for work. That definitely held true with another visit to Orlando last week. But by that point, I'd discovered a silver lining to  the overnights.  Before all the traveling began at the beginning of the month, rather than laboring with Hannah Pepper, I decided that I'd give myself permission to stitch on something new, fun and small for each road trip .  That decision led to the finish of The Angel of Tulips, but there was still more travel on the books.  Hhmmm...what to do about that?  Suddenly, traveling for work was beginning to feel like stitching summer camp!  So a dive through my Christmas stuff came up with a project I'd been hoarding for waaaayyy too long....apparently since 2003 to be exact....

I knew as soon as I set my grabby hands on it that this little sweetie would finally have her day.  And suddenly, I was looking forward to the trip.  Not so much because of the work it required, but because it meant an overnighter with a little cutie that was definitely not Hannah Pepper.  It felt a little bit like cheating on her, but I couldn't stop myself. A few nights away and this little love child was born.

I used to walk the straight and narrow when it came to little pieces.  It was just too much to bear to stitch them lovingly and then mangle them thoroughly in a sorry attempt at finishing. For the longest time, I steered clear by stitching only large samplers that just involved framing when they were done.  But now with the magical finishing powers of Miss Faye  and the giddy abandon for little projects unleashed by the overnights, all I can think about now are more tiny projects.  Prairie Schooler Santas, old JCS Ornament Editions,  the tiny scraps of 28 count linen I've hung onto over the name it, I've manically pored over it this weekend.  No more to be started of course unless other road trips crop up or Miss Hannah comes to a final finish.  But I've definitely created a monster, one that's obsessed with itty-bitty little projects!

And now, let's move on to the real monster in the room, shall we?  Namely, Hannah Pepper herself.  I have been slogging away on her endless grassy knoll and am thrilled to report that it's finally in its completed resting place.  No wonder I wanted to cheat on her!

You can see here that she really doesn't have much left to her, so I'm hoping if I stay focused and faithful, she'll be done for good next time I post.  Not sure what I'll actually do with myself when that happens, but it will probably be a lot of little things....

 As always, thanks for stopping in and especially for taking the time to comment.  Fall stitching - does it get any better than this?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Angel of Tulips

What's up with this?!  I'm actually posting two weekends in a row!  But I have a bit of excitement  that I just couldn't hold off  sharing until I had a more substantial update on the slow moving Hannah Pepper

My Angel of Tulips is done!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I'd be doing a lot of travelling for work in September. That really held true.  Not wanting to take my chances on Hannah Pepper in sketchy hotel room lighting, I decided to see the travel as a chance for something  quick, new and fun.  So I took my supplies with me to Tallahassee....

Got  a good start in Ft Lauderdale...

...and put in the last work after returning home from Starke.  All that's left now is to bundle her off to Faye for her final makeover.  Perhaps a facial is in order?

Working on this little project made me think again of my mother,  It seemed fitting to see her face on the wings of an angel. As the holidays begin to come around, I'm sure there will be many things that bring her to mind, but it makes me happy to know the first was something I stitched.  Mom would have been flattered.

Now, it's finish Hannah Pepper, or die trying!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

End of Summer Blossoms

Greetings on a soggy Labor Day Sunday!  Wish I could say summer was over down here, but the month of September is usually the most tropical of all.  Or maybe it's just that I'm that much more tired of heat and humidity?  I've spent the past few mornings hoping it would be cool and dry enough to walk in our local park, but it's still too soon for that.  So, I'll just drudge on through the rest of September and wait for the real change of season coming sooner or later in October.

Toward that end, I thought it might be fun to post about all the end of summer bursts of color I've noticed lately.  Speaking of which, here are the blossoms that sprung up on Miss Hannah Pepper since my last post.

Pretty spectacular, even if I do say so myself.

I'd set a goal to have Hannah finished by the end of September, but at this point, I just don't know if Hannah and I will make it bv then.  The rest of the stitching left on her is simply a mirror image of what's above. But my work schedule for the rest of the month is a bear and I already know there will be limited time for her.  Maybe her finish will come with the first cool dry morning surely to arrive in October.......

I think I've mentioned before how lovely the blossoms on our annual okra plantings are.  We've had a bumper crop this summer with all the rain in July  and the intense sunshine in August.  Such fun to watch!  The transformation goes from buttery yellow blossoms with deep velvet centers....

  to brilliant green okra pods, ready for picking.... a favorite southern delicacy - okra pickles! 

Other spots of color to be found  include fire spike, which attracted humming birds all summer long, as well as a bevy of butterflies each morning....

Spanish petunia, which always reminds me of strolling the neighborhoods of Key West....

...and Beauty Berry, which ripens to deep purple as surely as autumn does approach.

So as my thoughts turn to fall, I'm hoping the weather mellows along with them.  Here's wishing for a cool and dry Labor Day to all.

Thanks for stopping to chat!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Planning Ahead

Hi!  I was so tickled earlier this week to sneak a look at my blog at lunchtime and find I'd gained some new followers.  Welcome!!  Knowing the blogging world has down-sized somewhat since I first signed on, I'd more or less accepted the fact that my list of followers wasn't going to be very extensive. It's a thrill to know that there are still new folks out there who've decided my intermittent ramblings are worth keeping up with.  I love blogging!  It makes me think more carefully about my stitching and  keep track of others who do the same.

So on that note, let's catch up since my last post. ....

Actual stitching time has been devoted exclusively to Hannah Pepper, who if all goes as planned, should be officially graduated by the end of September. 

I think the last time I shared a status update on Hannah, the bottom border was complete, but not much was underway as far as those bottom potted plants or life sucking grassy knoll they all sit on.  As you can see some of it has changed since then.  Here are some close ups.


Love the little crown detail up in the corner!  But I'm sorry, those big bottom blooms might just be be Venus fly traps.  Don't think I'm put my fingers too close to them.....

Following the flesh-eating potted plant is a lovely basket of citrus and what I think must be a lion on a leash.  Gotta put him on a shorter leash once all is said and done because the original one looks a little droopy at this point.

This bottom grassy knoll has been kicking my behind!  Not so much because of the solid stitching but because of those somewhat random brown patches.  Those of you who are working on Hannah but haven't reached those point - a word of advice:  chuck the chart with those fuzzy little symbols side by side and just go with the picture and your gut.  In the end, it won't matter one tiny bit if your finished Hannah's grassy knoll isn't identical to the original.  But it will matter that you're still sane and breathing, your eyesight is intact and your Hannah hasn't been incinerated.

Don't you just love that little doggy on the side of the urn?  Can't tell if he's a dachshund or a beagle, but just like my three girls, he's most definitely following his nose.  Who knows, maybe there's cheese or even just a dirty plate under that urn.....

But with Hannah's end so impending, part of the motivation to get her done once and for all has been in planning ahead to what comes next,  I have quite a bit of travel for work coming up in the next few weeks, so I thought I'd figure out something small and portable to work on in hotel rooms.  Diving through my stuff this weekend turned up one I've actually stitched before.  I'm sorry to say the stitching of it was lovely, but I completely mangled it in a crude attempt at finishing. Remember "The Angel of Tulips" by Good Huswife?

I already have a bit of linen and the left over silks to give her a second chance at life.

 I just need to remember that if I love her enough to give her another shot, I also have to love her enough to let Faye do the finishing.....

And I've also been considering starting another Quaker piece when Miss Hannah is all done.  Something that would compliment Ann Grimshaw and Sarah Tatum without being too similar.   And the perfect piece for that would be Raggamuffin 2 by Shakespeare's Peddler.  I've been in love with this gentle sampler since I first laid eyes on it.

I ordered up the silks for this beauty thinking I already had the Light Examplar linen needed for it.  But a ransack through the linen box yesterday determined anything that was the right size wasn't the right thread count of color.  Also when I did put the silks on the tiny little bit of light exemplar I did have, I think it looked a little too pink for what I was picturing.  Not sure at this point what to do about that.  Suggestions for an alternative?

Finally, let me show you some funky little tweezers I happened to stumble across recently while trying to keep myself entertained as Halley loaded her cosmetics basket at Ulta.  Aren't these cool?

I have to admit, those pretty beach colors are what caught my eye.  But on closer examination, I love that they are small and precise, perfect for picking thread remnants (and  dog hair) off stitching repairs.  And they come in their own awesome little leather sheath. just like they were intended all along to be needlework tools!

No doubt football season and cooler weather will be on the horizon for at least some of you very soon.  Where did the summer get off to?  As always, thanks for checking in!


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Shoving Off

Is everyone one staying dry and cool?  I have to remind myself that not everywhere in the world is the weather wet, humid and spongy as it is here right now.  Mushrooms pop up overnight in my yard like a town of fungal prairie dogs....eewwww!  Wishing for some cool, dry breezes but there are absolutely none to be had.

So I thought I'd post a quickie on my finish of 7 Sailors, which will be shoving off for Ms. Faye's mountain hideaway tomorrow morning.  She's promised to do something unimaginable with them and a cigar box.  The waiting is going to kill me!

But here they are in all their rugged manliness....

I had so much fun with these dudes, wish I'd finished them sooner than I did.  Gotta love a sailor in a dress...

You'll notice the water isn't a solid stitch as indicated on the original chart.  That one had the waves stitched in solid bars varying in different shades of blue.  I wasn't really planning to do anything other than that, but since I was using overdyed threads anyway and each bar was stitched in alternating shades, the simplest way to go about it seemed like skipping every other stitch and then going back a second time.  Are you with me on that? 

But what I found was that I like the openness of it rather than the density of the original solid stitches.  It tended to pick up on the same pattern from the rigging and the crow's nest, yet the variegation of the thread itself still gave enough color changes.  See what I mean?

Haven't quite decided if that's a dog or a cat on board, but whatever it is it cracks me up.

Work has also been underway on Ms, Hannah Pepper, but it's mostly been a slog on the endless pasture at the bottom.  How can a solid span of grass be so boring and yet so nerve wracking at the same time?  So I've decided to spare the gritty details of that for another post when there will be a little more excitement to be shared on Hannah's behalf.  Let's just hope mushrooms don't start springing up in there as well...

Thanks for stopping in!

shovmh Off

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Heading Into the Dog Days

The middle of July in Florida means a turn into the dog days of summer.  Thunder, lightening and  more rain every day, tropical humidity and steaming temperatures, power outages at the most inconvenient times.....lovely!   It can only be that hurricane season is a few short weeks away.   But dog days this summer also come with a greeting and an enthusiastic waggle from Renny, who's managed to prove in a very short time that alpha dogs come in all shapes and sizes. 

So, let's do a stitching update, shall we?

Lisa, I sooo loved your last comment that Hannah Pepper has become my sanity piece.  Truer words were never said.  Hannah has been a very faithful friend this summer, one who lets me wonder off from time to time, but always welcomes me back when I'm ready.  Funny, now that her end is beginning to seem like it could actually happen, I'm starting to savor each stitch along the way.  Here's how she looks  - not all that different from last time, but surely moving along. 

And speaking of a momentary wander away from Hannah, remember this little Milkpaint Sampler ditty I knocked off earlier this spring?

Well, I mailed it off to Faye and am absolutely astounded at what she transformed it into.  Check this out - it was sooo beyond anything I could have even imagined.

But as if this wasn't enough, the really special parts are what she added inside.  Like this beautiful needle park, with all the perfectly chosen shades and tiny details....

....and the most perfect addition of all, a replica of the tiny stitched pink blossoms hand appliqued on an inner pocket. 

Thank you so much Faye!  You created a very bright spot in a dreary place for me.

And in case you're wondering what might have taken me away from my sanity piece (as I'm sure you were, weren't you?!), I've been spending some evenings with 7 different men...sailors to be exact.

These little dudes will eventually find their way into the lid of a cigar box, but they may also have one last voyage to Ms Faye as well.   Once they set sail, it's back to the ever faithful Hannah.

So that moves me into the end of July and the start of the real dog days of summer.    Here's hoping your stitching is good, your summer is easy and your dogs are all alpha.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Moving Forward, Looking Back

A very, very heartfelt thank you to everyone who took the time to comment or send a message after my last post.  It really did make a difference.  Funny how I thought I was prepared for the day, but when it actually came, I was still caught off guard.  Anyway, there's been progress on the ever-present Miss Hannah, which I'm happy to share now!  It's been a blessing to have her.

You'll notice a slight change for the original I decided to make as a sanity saving measure.  Namely, I changed the row of tiny little over one birdies that divides the bottom third of the sampler to a reverse of the floral border beneath the name and date line.  Much as I love those little birds, I knew it was either me or them!  Someone wouldn't make it to the final finish, and speaking strictly for myself, I have a lot more time and patience invested on Miss Hannah's final end than they do.  So with that tough call finally resolved, I'm moving ahead down the homestretch. You just wait Miss Hannah, your days are numbered....

While I was with my sisters after Mom passed, we spent a bittersweet morning going through her remaining quilts, her sewing tools and jewelry.  I came back with some beautiful keepsakes, including my great uncle's CCC ring. earned by planting trees in Oregon during the Dust Bowl years of the early 1930's.

I also was so touched to find this little pocket I stitched for Mom one Christmas, complete with embroidery scissors and one of Halley's sweet beaded fobs.  When this was given to Mom, there was a gift card to her favorite local coffee house tucked inside.  Since that was missing, I can only hope that she thought of us and enjoyed it thoroughly!  .

Turns out my mother was also the collector (hoarder?) of other people's quilts, but I'm not one to lay blame for that, especially when the ones she gathered were such treasures.  These were all hand pieced tops that she came across and decided to rescue.  The two finished ones were hand quilted by a local group of Amish women.  Don't know what on earth I'll do with the unfinished one, but the acorn really doesn't fall far from the tree - I had to adopt these beauties and bring them back  to a new home with me.

But looking forward, I'm so pleased to note we have a new family member.  Meet Heavensent Give Me Serenity, known  around this house as Renny!

She's still settling into the pack and learning to let go of some of her county dog ways.  But she's as mellow as Ruby and Molly are high energy, so the hope is that they all will be a good influence on each other.  I've spent the time since she's come to us doting on her like a gramma and then wondering if all sanity has abandoned me.  3 dogs - really?!

So that brings me up to speed for now as we move into the second half of the year. Just finished a revisit to "The Mist of Avalon", so my pagan spirit is running wild with the summer solstice.....