Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Seeing as most everyone else is likely baking pies and stewing cranberries today, I though it would be the perfect time for me to cook up a long overdue blog post.  This week has been a blessing, the first real time away from work I've had in almost a year.  For that I'm extremely thankful!

Faye has worked her magic again, this time on my little 7 Sailors.  I sent them off to her as a piece of stitching and they've come back home shortly after the last post as this real treasure box. 

She also glamoured the inside with a padded lid and bottom....

,,,,and Halley made the perfect nautical fob to keep my favorite scissors stowed inside.

I'm still amazed at how perfectly the stitching fit the size and shape of the cigar box lid.  But I'm even more astonished at how beautifully it was finished.  Well done, Ms Faye!

I'm happy to report that progress has been steady on Miss Mary Goodburn, in spite of more work travel and limited time.  With a bit of focus this weekend I'm hoping she'll be done before Monday rolls around again and it's back to the usual grind. Here she is:

After all the alphabets and color changes at the top, it was easy stitching through the flower bands.  Love how they increased in size as the bands move along.

Why do I love band samplers?  Because just about the time my patience wears thin with a certain border or pattern, it's done and something more interesting comes along.  Still haven't decided what those creatures near the flower stand are.  Dogs?  Horses?  Dinosaurs?  Go figure.

But I think my favorite section is the bottom part I'm working on now.  You can see the sides are full of initials  and a few other little details.  And the most fun of all, a tiny sailing ship will go in the middle.  The ship is what drew me to Miss Mary to begin with first time I spotted her.  At long last I'll actually get down to stitching it tonight!

Another magical thing, or maybe it's just serendipity.....Does this ever happen to anyone else, or is it just me? 

I so enjoyed listening to "A Marriage of Opposites" by Alice Hoffman earlier this summer that I couldn't wait to download more of her work.  I'm now coming to the conclusion of "The Red Garden", which has captured my imagination to the point of inspiring another stitching project.  Not to give away too many details, but the plot threads its way through the real and mythical stories of the townspeople of Bedford Massachusetts.  At one point in time Johnny Appleseed cultivates an orchard on the outskirts or town.  Naturally, this led me back to a project I've been meaning to start since I first bought the chart .....

If I've been in love with Johnny for 30 years and still really want to stitch him, then it's about time to get started, don't you think?  Best of all, when I got the chart out to give it yet another look over, I found a sheet of paper I'd tucked inside with a conversion to over-dyed threads in it.  I have absolutely no recollection of when I did that, but it's only further proof that all these years and it's still on my bucket list.  Think I'll wrestle out the linen box tomorrow while my pie is baking and get him all kitted up.

I promised myself this week I would only spend my time with people I care about doing things I love,  On Monday that meant a trip to the Tampa Bay History Center with Halley, where she's volunteering in the collections department in order to buff up her research skills.

We spent the afternoon visiting Tampa's oldest cemeteries, Halley searching for specific details and me just looking in amazement.  This stone in particular was touching.

And at another site, this lady was interred by her husband,  life sized figures sitting with their backs to the city 

and a touching detail at the hem of her skirt.

It was a rare, touching day and I couldn't have spent it better.  Somehow it pulls me back to my stitching....

Here's hoping your Thanksgiving is blessed with love, good food and special memories.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Life After Hannah

November 1 - Geez, how did that happen?  Life has been in transition since my last post, lots going on around here! What have you been up to?

Well, since this is a a stitching blog, let's begin with what I've transitioned to since Hannah Pepper's grand finale.  I'd mentioned earlier that I was loving the smalls now that Faye has saved me from the trauma of finishing.  So I caught my breath with this quick stitch by Goode Huswife.  Love her!

She's stitched over one on an old scrap of 28 count dirty linen I was hanging on to for just such a project.  Another fun thing was to get out my box of old Needle Necessities overdyes (remember those?) and scrounge through for some cool threads to work her in.  I loved the freedom of this piece, from her quick completion to rooting around in my stash for supplies and not being all that careful about what I decided to go with. I'm thinking she ought to pair up nicely with my recent Angel of Tulips, though they'll have to wait until next Christmas to be displayed together.

Keeping in the spirit of quick stitches, I decided to make another stab at Mary Goodburn.  She got a quick start some time last year and then was promptly tossed aside.  She's an old kit from The Examplarery I picked up several years ago but never felt a strong need to devote much time on.  This is where I started......

...and here's where I am as of this afternoon.

Don't know that she'll see a finish before I lose interest in her again, but I can go with her at least until Thanksgiving.  At that point, I'm going back to the Scottish Band Sampler, mostly because it feels like the perfect December stitch.  This is as far as I got on that one last holiday season.  Think it will reach a finish this year?

Other things happening at the end of October and the beginning of November?

How about enjoying a NASA launch on a beautiful Saturday from the neighborhood park....

Or Halloween preparations.....

 One of Jim's favorite things is to outdo himself each year with the annual pumpkin carving.  This was one of his finest!  Our poor old cat Mo finally crossed over a week or two ago, so Halley suggested Jim do one final tribute by immortalizing him in gourd.  It was a challenge well met. 

And today being November 1, it was time to break out my Publix Pilgrims, which I'm admittedly a little nutty about.  Thts arrangement went up first thing this morning.

So that catches me up at the start of November.  Whew!  Hope all is well with you.  I love it that you've taken time to stop by!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Bless Me For I Will Prevail

Hannah herself has made the eloquent statement for how I'm feeling today.  I've prevailed!!  She's finally done.

It hasn't quite sunk in yet that after years of loving and leaving her, she's finally behind me. Hannah has been one of those pieces that forced me to prove myself as a stitcher.  Just like she says herself, "Thy talents to improve take care...."

2 over one verses....

Some improvisation with the dividing bands and bottom border.....

Plenty of wild life and an even more formidable grassy knoll....

With a final finish in the corner I turned the night I said goodbye to my mother.  A tiny crown - the last motif I stitched - is for her.

Thank you Hannah, you've been a patient teacher and a faithful friend.

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!